Edmonton-area businessman accused of sexually assaulting intern

Marco Castro-Wunsch is being tried after a previous conviction was overturned on appeal. (Sam Brooks/CBC - image credit)

WARNING: This article contains details of sexual assault.

A man who worked as a supervisor at an Edmonton-area composting facility is on trial for the alleged sexual assault of a young intern.

Marco Castro-Wunsch is being tried by judge alone at the Court of King's Bench in Edmonton after a previous conviction was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal last year.

It found the trial judge had put too much stock into text exchanges between the complainant, whose name is protected by a publication ban, and a friend.

A new trial was ordered, which began this week.

Castro-Wunsch is charged with one count of sexual assault dated July 16, 2018. He has pleaded not guilty, with his defence contending that the interaction was consensual.

The woman, who was 21 at the time, testified on Monday that she had been an intern for the company for only a few months that summer. On the morning of the alleged assault, she came to work to find only Castro-Wunsch on duty.

"I thought very highly of him," the woman said Monday. "I liked the people I worked with and I was happy to go to work every day."

He greeted her with a hug and the two went up the stairs to his second-floor office to discuss an art commission.

She said at some point he tried to kiss her and she pulled away. The woman said that Castro-Wunsch then held her captive and sexually assaulted her multiple times over the course of several hours.

She said that Castro-Wunsch forced oral sex on her and tried to have sex with her.

'Between me and the exit'

The woman said she told him to stop and to think of his wife and children but was ignored.

She said there were brief interruptions as customers came in.

"I would just be trying to get my clothes back on or you know readjust my clothes and then by the time I would be trying to leave the office he would already be back," she said.

"I thought about trying to run but he was always between me and the exit."

She said she was afraid he would overpower her.

During one instance when Castro-Wunsch was speaking with a customer, she went into the bathroom to gather herself.

She said Castro-Wunsch then let her go after some convincing, ostensibly to complete some work. She took her car keys and left through the building's only exit.

She returned around two hours later to retrieve her things but Castro-Wunsch was still there. She said he then sexually assaulted her again.

That night she told her boyfriend and met with the company's human resources representative the next morning. She told her parents a few days later.

The woman said she never went back to work again.


Castro-Wunsch's defence questioned the woman's narrative during cross-examination Tuesday, prodding gaps in memory regarding timeline and details.

Lawyer Nicole Stewart suggested the interaction had been consensual and that the woman had not wanted her boyfriend to know she had sexual relations with another man.

She asked the complainant why she was supposedly unable to run and escape but also engaged in a lengthy text exchange with another employee that morning.

Inconsistencies in the woman's testimony between the police report, preliminary hearing and trial were also brought up during cross.

"I can tell you I remember the sexual assaults but some of the details, like when I changed into my shorts, I don't remember that," the woman said.

Stewart also questioned why the woman returned, pointing out that Castro-Wunsch's car was still in the parking lot. The complainant said he owned multiple and that it did not necessarily indicate he would be inside.

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.