EDMONTON—A woman who was sexually assaulted by a former Edmonton nightclub employee says he may not remember her, but she will always remember him.
Matthew McKnight, 33, was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women ranging in age from 17 to 22 between 2010 and 2016. He pleaded not guilty, but a jury convicted him in January on five of the 13 counts.
Two of the women and some of their family members gave victim impact statements Wednesday at the start of McKnight’s sentencing hearing.
One woman, whose name is protected by a publication ban, asked to address McKnight directly as she gave her victim impact statement in an Edmonton courtroom.
“You sexually assaulted me,” she said through tears.
“For years, I have been terrified of you. You haunt my dreams and dictate my waking moments.”
She said she hasn’t been able to forget the night he attacked her.
“The bruises you left on my skin faded, but the nightmares … will forever be with me.”
Another woman, who also cannot be named, told court about how her life changed four years, two months and 23 days ago.
“I remember walking into a pub with friends … to waking up in a nightmare that I will have to relive for the rest of my life,” she said. “I still cannot get over the thought of having a stranger inside of me, violating my body.
“I did not want to believe what happened to me was real.”
The woman said she has been traumatized by the sexual assault and often wouldn’t leave her house to go for groceries or walk her dog.
“I feared there were other men out there just like you,” she said.
The Crown is seeking a sentence of 22 1/2 years for what they called “drug-facilitated” sexual assaults, noting alcohol and “something else” was used in at least three of the offences.
“These are gravely serious offences and Mr. McKnight’s degree of moral responsibility is high,” said prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga in his opening submission.
“He’s a man who has had a privileged upbringing in many ways.”
Huyser-Wierenga said the judge must “denounce and deter” the vile abuse of the five women.
The hearing, which is expected to hear from at least two other victims, is to run until Friday.
By Colette Derworiz