Toronto police have charged former fashion mogul Peter Nygard with multiple counts of sexual assault, The Fifth Estate has learned.
Sources say Nygard faces nine counts in total, involving six women, one of whom was a minor at the time of the alleged assault. The charges, which were laid on Wednesday, include six of sexual assault and three of forcible confinement.
All of the alleged assaults took place in Toronto between the mid-1980s and the mid-2000s.
Word of the Toronto charges comes as Nygard, 80, remains in custody in Manitoba, where he is awaiting extradition to the United States after his arrest nine months ago on charges filed in court in the southern district of New York, including for sex trafficking and racketeering.
Nygard agreed to move forward with the extradition process to face those charges at a hearing in Winnipeg Friday morning.
The U.S. charges relate to “a decades-long pattern of criminal conduct” involving dozens of women in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The women involved in the Toronto charges were informed Wednesday. One woman, contacted by CBC, welcomed the police action.
“It’s fantastic.… Finally the bleeding is going to stop. That’s all I can say,” she told The Fifth Estate.
As a victim of an alleged sexual assault, the CBC is protecting her identity.
“I’m a fighter,” she said. “I wasn’t going to let him get the better of me.”
The Toronto police investigation into allegations of sexual assault involving Nygard was first reported by APTN in April 2021.
Shannon Moroney, a Toronto-based therapist who supports dozens of Nygard survivors in her practice, said she’s relieved to finally see charges laid in Canada.
“These charges offer validation and hope to survivors who have hidden in the shadows for years, many believing they were Nygard’s sole victim and that justice would never come for them,” Moroney said in an email statement.
“I know that they all share their charges with their survivor sisters everywhere who may or may not have charges laid in their own names.”
Eight women in Winnipeg have also filed complaints of sexual assault against Nygard. Police in Winnipeg sent their files to prosecution services in December, where they remain under consideration.
It’s unclear how the Toronto charges will affect Friday’s extradition hearing and the process underway in Winnipeg.
“It would be up to the prosecutor to decide whether to proceed with the extradition or hold off the extradition proceedings to address the charges in Canada,” said Daniel Brown, a Toronto extradition lawyer.
The Fifth Estate has reported extensively for more than a decade on several women in several countries who allege sexual assaults by Nygard. The charges laid by Toronto police are the first against him in Canada.
None of the allegations against Nygard has been proven in court. He has maintained his innocence and says the accusations against him have been made up to tarnish his reputation.
Read more about Friday’s extradition hearing here.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted or who is affected by these reports. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If your situation is urgent, please contact emergency services in your area.