'I was in shock': Roger Hilderley testifies in his own defense at historic sex assault trial
KITCHENER -- A warning, some of the details in this story are graphic.
A retired educator and well-known volunteer in Stratford testified at his sexual assault trial Friday, saying the complainant was the one who initiated a sex act in his home, against his wishes.
The complainant, whose name is protected by a publication ban, previously testified that she went to Roger Hilderley’s home for a cup of coffee on May 1, 2002. She said after drinking it, she began feeling lifeless and had to hang on to a railing for fear of falling. She says Hilderley blocked her from exiting the home, and she believes she was sexually assaulted by Hilderley.
Hilderley, now 74, told court the complainant was a student at a school where he worked as a Vice Principal in the 1970s, though he said he did not remember teaching her. He says the complainant also came to his home twice, “uninvited and unannounced,” in the 1970s when she was a teen. He says he later saw the complainant in late 2001 and early 2002 at a hospital where he was volunteering.
Hilderley says the complainant called him on the afternoon of May 1, 2002, pleased with marks she had received at college. He says the complainant invited him to her home, but he declined, as he could not drive due to an injured left shoulder and arm, “and I really did not want to go to her house.”
He says the complainant convinced him to let her come to his home, something “I certainly regret.”
During the visit, she requested coffee, which Hilderley says she prepared, as he does not drink coffee. Hilderley testified that he did not put anything in the coffee, but says the complainant went to her car and got a powder, which she poured into the coffee.
“I do not know what the powder was, it was something she had gotten at her car,” Hilderley told court.
Hilderley says he took the complainant on a tour of the home, and they tasted some wine.
Hilderley says the complainant asked to use the washroom before leaving. Hilderley testified that she actually went into the master bedroom and when she emerged from the upper level of the house, “she was standing at the top of the stairs wearing only ankle socks.”
Hilderley says, “I was in shock at that time,” saying the actions that followed were “extremely upsetting.”
“I did not know what to do. It was very difficult.”
Hilderley, who became tearful at this portion of the testimony, says the complainant pulled down his pants and briefs and attempted oral sex. He says she spit on him as well.
Hilderley says he is impotent, and after an estimated two to three minutes of attempting the act the complainant “got tired” and stopped.
Hilderley testified, “I told her never to come back.”
In cross-examination, the crown asked why Hilderley did not ask the complainant to come to his home later in the day, when his wife was home.
Hilderley said he did not think the complainant posed a danger.
“It turned out I made a very big mistake in inviting her over, a mistake that I certainly do regret, but it happened.”
In re-examination, Hilderley’s lawyer Thomas Brock asked why Hilderley did not move when the complainant was attempting oral sex on him.
Hilderley said his arm was in pain, his pants were down around his ankles, he was worried about falling over and the complainant was holding on to his genitals.
The crown and defense have now closed their cases. The trial, which is being held virtually, resumes on December 3 for closing submissions.