Man who claimed 'sexsomnia' defence for sexual assault sentenced to year in jail
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr
Published Thursday, March 21, 2019 10:12AM EDT
A 38-year-old Ontario man accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a house party has been sentenced to one year in jail and three months of probation following an eight-year court process involving several appeals, including one where the defence claimed he suffered from “sexsomnia.”
On Wednesday, Justice Kimberley Moore rejected Ryan Hartman’s latest attempt to have the case thrown out using a Jordan application. The application claimed his rights had been violated because of the length of time it took for the case to make its way through the courts.
Moore ruled the defence was primarily responsible for the delays and threw out Hartman’s Jordan application. He was sentenced to one year in jail and three months of probation.
His lawyers had asked for leniency and that his time be served under house arrest so that he could provide for his mother and family.
Hartman was accused of raping Bekah D’Aoust while she slept on an air mattress beside her boyfriend at a house party near Brockville, Ont. in 2011.
Earlier in March, D’Aoust successfully petitioned the courts to have a publication ban on her name lifted.
In 2012, Hartman was found guilty of the sexual assault, but he successfully appealed the ruling. During a second trial, lawyers for the accused claimed their client suffered from “sexsomnia” and he had been asleep during the assault. Sexsomnia is a recognized sleep disorder in which people engage in sexual acts while in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
In November, the 38-year-old man was convicted again after his “sexsomnia” defence was thrown out.
After Hartman’s last appeal was rejected on Wednesday, D’Aoust said she finally feels free after eight long years.
“Victory, you know, it was just another win for victims and survivors in the world,” she told CTV Ottawa outside of the Brockville courthouse.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, the 30-year-old woman was given the opportunity to deliver a victim impact statement.
“If I had one wish in the world for you, it would be to live a day in my shoes,” she said to Hartman. “See the darkness I have to look past every day.”
D’Aoust said the attack forever changed the course of her life. She told the court she was financially and emotionally affected by the events of that night. She said she resorted to drugs and drinking to cope with anxiety in the years that followed.
However, D’Aoust acknowledged she was stronger now from the experience and even thanked Hartman.
“Eight years ago you made a choice that changed my life forever,” she said. “Today, I am letting go of that. Today I am free.”
Hartman declined to address the court.
D’Aoust said she is ready to start living her life again and plans to advocate for other sexual assault survivors.
“I’ve learned a lot from this and hopefully I can help other people through my story,” she said.