Disgraced former fashion mogul Peter Nygard is facing two more charges of sexual assault involving two new complainants in Toronto.
The nature of the charges and dates or locations of the alleged crimes were not provided during a brief court hearing Wednesday.
In an email Thursday, Toronto police would only say the department’s human trafficking enforcement team charged Nygard on June 15 with two counts of sexual assault.
Nygard, 80, is now accused of 11 counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement in Toronto, related to allegations from the late 1980s and mid-2000s.
He has also been charged with one count each of sexual assault and forcible confinement in Quebec, and is scheduled to be back in a Montreal courtroom July 8.
In addition, Nygard faces extradition to the United States on sex-related charges there.
He was not present for Wednesday’s court hearing in Toronto. Crown prosecutor Neville Golwalla said he refused to leave his cell at the Toronto South Detention Centre to go to the video conference room.
The justice of the peace in the Ontario Court of Justice suggested Nygard may be ill.
“The words that were used was that he refused to attend his arraignment,” said Shannon Moroney, a Toronto trauma therapist who watched the court hearing online.
She is supporting dozens of people, in Toronto and elsewhere, who say there were assaulted by Nygard. Some of those people watched Wednesday’s hearing with her.
“When some of his charges are for forcible confinement and … all of the charges are about the way he forced himself into the bodies of women and girls, that he was then not forced to attend his arraignment is causing a great deal of anger on the part of survivors,” Moroney said.
Both Nygard’s Winnipeg-based lawyer, Jay Prober, and his Toronto lawyer, Brian Greenspan, declined to comment when contacted Thursday by CBC News.
Nygard is scheduled to be in a Toronto court again on June 29. He was denied bail in January and ordered not to communicate with any of his accusers.
Nygard’s estranged son, Kai Bickle, also watched Wednesday’s court hearing online. He applauded the new charges and the courage of women coming forward with their complaints.
He says Nygard, who “was very powerful financially [and] had many connections,” pursued lawsuits “against any individual who spoke out … [creating] a culture of silence where people felt isolated and that they were alone.”
“Now the fact that he is incarcerated, you’re realizing that you’re not alone if you’re a survivor. And you also are understanding that he doesn’t have the power he once had,” said Bickle, who is also the executive ambassador of the All for Humanity Alliance, an international group working to end human trafficking and child exploitation.
“I would not be shocked if more accusations come in.”
The identity of all alleged victims is protected under publication bans.
None of the allegations against Nygard have been proven in court and he has maintained his innocence.
He has been in custody since being arrested in Winnipeg in December 2020 on nine sex-related charges in New York. He was arrested by Toronto police and transferred there last October.
He will be extradited to the United States to face those charges after the Canadian criminal charges are resolved.
Questions about handling of Manitoba complaints
Nygard ran his international fashion empire from Winnipeg, but no charges have been laid in connection with allegations of sexual assault from eight women there.
Moroney and Bickle are calling for a public inquiry to examine how the Winnipeg Police Service and the provincial Department of Justice handled these complaints, saying the women involved deserve answers.
“An inquiry will show that there are no reasonable, acceptable answers to the lack of justice being pursued for them,” Moroney said.
“Justice cannot simply be a matter of luck.… It cannot exist for people in one province and not another.”
Survivors feel mixed emotions when new charges are laid, she said. Although they support each other and believe the important thing is that Nygard is no longer able to hurt anyone, it’s a reminder that their complaints were not acted upon, she said.
“It is a complete re-victimization and re-traumatization for these Manitoba survivors to see … the wheels of justice move for other survivors in other regions,” but not for them, she said.
“There is no trust, there is no faith. And that has been proven by the lack of charges.”
Bickle also says Manitoba’s decision on this case sends the wrong message to survivors.
“It doesn’t tell them they should go to police. It says they should stay silent because nothing is going to happen,” he said.
He wants answers on “what were the failures, and what can we do about it so it doesn’t happen in the future again?”
In a statement to CBC News, the Winnipeg Police Service said its sex crimes unit “undertook a considerable amount of work to investigate these files.”
Eight cases were submitted to Manitoba Justice for consideration, which “declined to authorize criminal charges” against Nygard, the written statement said.
“We understand the courage required of any survivor of sexual assault to come forward. We acknowledge and respect the decisions made by justice officials, and at times by survivors themselves, not to proceed with criminal proceedings,” it said.
Manitoba Justice has not yet responded to CBC’s requests for comment.