Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard found guilty of sexual assault

The singer was acquitted of two other charges, and faces a new trial for a fourth in August

Content warning: This article discusses allegations of sexual assault.

Jacob Hoggard, the former frontman for defunct Canadian pop-rock band Hedley, has been convicted of sexual assault.

On Sunday (June 5), a Toronto jury found Hoggard guilty of one count of sexual assault causing bodily harm against an Ottawa woman. He was acquitted of the same charge involving a woman who was 16 years old at the time of the alleged incident. He was also found not guilty of sexual interference.

The separate assaults are alleged to have taken place in 2016. Allegations of sexual misconduct by Hoggard – and other members of Hedley – emerged in early 2018. Their agency, management and record label dropped the band, who later announced they were going on hiatus. At the time, Hoggard said he would be stepping away from his career indefinitely.

“I have never engaged in non-consensual sexual behavior in my life. Ever,” the singer wrote in a statement at the time, denying all allegations. “However, over the last 13 years, I have behaved in a way that objectified women. It’s time for me to change.”

Hoggard was charged with the three aforementioned counts in July of 2018. The trial was postponed multiple times due to the pandemic, finally beginning on May 2 of this year.

Billboard reports that the two complainants described being violently raped by Hoggard, who took the stand in his own defence for the trial, pleading not guilty and claiming that that he had had consensual sex with the complainants. NME has reached out to Hoggard’s lawyer, Megan Savard, for comment on his conviction.

In March 2022, Hoggard was charged with another count of sexual assault causing bodily harm. This came in relation to a June 2016 encounter that is alleged to have taken place in Kirkland Lake, Ontario.

The charge was made public last Thursday (June 2), with Hoggard set to appear in court on August 4 to begin the new trial. According to CBC, Savard said last Tuesday (May 31) that he would plead not guilty to the new charge.

Hedley formed in British Columbia in 2003. They rose to prominence following Hoggard placing third on Canadian Idol in 2004, and signed with Universal to release their self-titled debut album the following year. They released six more studio albums while active, the final being ‘Cageless’ in 2017.

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.

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