Canadian woman says fashion mogul Peter Nygard drugged and raped her in the Bahamas

By | May 7, 2020

A Canadian woman has come forward to tell her story publicly about being sexually assaulted by fashion mogul Peter Nygard at his seaside mansion in the Bahamas more than 20 years ago.

Jane Doe 16, as she’s known in a U.S. class action lawsuit accusing Nygard of sexually assaulting and raping 46 women from around the world, was 19-years-old at the time.

She is the first Canadian from the lawsuit to step forward publicly to talk about what she says happened to her.

The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York, originally in February.

The claim says she was drugged, raped and sodomized by Nygard, who then “provided Jane Doe No. 16 to his friends for them to have sex with as well,” while she was at his palatial compound in the Bahamas in 1998.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court. Nygard also faces two other lawsuits in the U.S. from two separate women who also accuse him of sexual assault. He denies all of the charges.

Nygard was a millionaire fashion mogul responsible for several Canadian clothing lines, and is also one of the many powerful men to face public sexual assault litigation in recent years.  

‘He said I could enjoy the beach’

Jane Doe 16 said she met Nygard through her tennis instructor in the Bahamas at the time.

“He kept referring to this person as ‘chief’ or ‘boss,’ and how he has an amazing tennis court on his property, and how he would love to take me there to play tennis with him,” she said. CBC is withholding Jane Doe’s identity at her request. 

In the lawsuit, she says she visited Nygard’s property three times after which he invited her to stay “as long as she wanted.” 

“He said I could enjoy the beach and the tennis and that it would be great. And I thought, you know, that was wonderful.”

But she says it wasn’t wonderful for long.

“He started touching me and asking me if I had ever had anal sex. I was horrified, and I was like, ‘No, that’s awful.’ I can’t, no. It made me really uncomfortable. I said, ‘No, that’s not something that I would ever do,'” she said.

In the lawsuit, she says she was drugged.

“And I didn’t know why he was asking me all these questions, and I just started getting a little uncomfortable, but then I also just started feeling kind of fuzzy and numb. And, like, I was really drunk, but I didn’t think I had had that much to drink.”

Jane Doe 16 says she was raped at Nygard’s mansion in the Bahamas, pictured here in this image shot by a drone. (CBC)

Then she says, Nygard raped her.

“He put me down on the bed and he pulled my dress up, and he held me down and sodomized me, and I just didn’t know what to do,” she said through tears, in a joint interview with CBC and CTV News.

“I had never felt that kind of pain before, and I was scared, but I was alone. And I couldn’t stop it.” 

After the rapes, she says in the lawsuit, “he threw money at her.”

‘Paid for false evidence’

Nygard, a wealthy Canadian clothing manufacturer, has denied all of the allegations in the all of the lawsuits filed against him, saying they have been fabricated as part of a conspiracy involving a neighbour in the Bahamas.

A long-running dispute began as a property argument more than a decade ago with his neighbour, and has spiraled into a series of lawsuits in several countries, in addition to the sexual assault litigation. Nygard alleges many of his accusers have been paid to fabricate stories about him.

Sears Canada executive Brandon G. Stranzl (left), and Peter Nygard, appear at an event in Winnipeg in 2015. (Sears Canada via The Canadian Press)

“The allegations by Jane Doe 16 are absolutely and categorically denied by Peter Nygard,” said Jay Prober, his Winnipeg-based lawyer.

“It’s probably another complainant who has been paid for false evidence.”

Jane Doe 16 also says in the lawsuit that “Nygard forced her to participate in a ‘swingers’ sexual encounter at Nygard Cay.”

“I did what he said,” she said. “He wanted me to be with certain men and certain women.”

Eventually, according to the lawsuit, Nygard “let her leave” when he decided to return to Canada.

The lawsuit goes on to say Nygard caused his alleged victims “serious and permanent harm, including … physical, psychological [and] emotional.”

“It’s impacted my relationships,” added Jane Doe 16.

“It’s impacted my whole life. You know, the post-traumatic trauma, the depression, it follows me every day, and I know that regardless of whatever happens with Peter, that that will probably never go away.”

If you have tips or information about this story, please email Timothy Sawa at timothy.sawa@cbc.ca.

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