Nygard—who is most famous for founding Nygard International, a women’s apparel company—reportedly showed little emotion as the Toronto jury’s verdict was read. He was also found not guilty of one count of forcible confinement.
Five women testified during the six-week trial that Nygard attacked and assaulted them between the late 1980s to 2005 in his private bedroom suite. Four of the women were in their 20s, while one was 16 at the time.
The women said that Nygard offered them a tour of his Toronto office building that ended in his private bedroom suite, where he assaulted them. Some of the women said that Nygard’s bedroom had a door with no handle on the inside, making them feel trapped with no way to exit. They also testified that the doors outside the bedroom could only be unlocked with a button inside the bedroom or a security code. One woman testified that she begged Nygard multiple times to let her out before he agreed.
During the trial, Nygard maintained that he was not guilty, testifying that he did not remember four of the five women or having any interaction with them. He also claimed that there was a handle on the inside of the door to his bedroom.
“What never occurred were the sexual assaults described by each of the complainants,” Nygard’s attorney, Brian Greenspan, insisted. He argued the women had testified against his client because they were part of a class-action lawsuit in the U.S.
That civil lawsuit includes 57 women with allegations of assault dating back to 1977, when some of the women were just 14 or 15 years old. The suit is currently on hold. Meanwhile, Nygard also faces sexual assault charges in Manitoba and Quebec.