'I felt sick and dirty': Complainant testifies she warned others about Edmonton bar promoter

A woman who said she was sexually assaulted by an Edmonton bar promoter in 2013 went to police the day after the alleged incident but backed out of a sexual assault examination in hospital, effectively ending the criminal investigation.

"I didn't think I could handle it," the woman told the Court of Queen's Bench on Thursday about her decision to end the examination. She was 18 at the time.

"I didn't want to be there and I just didn't want to deal with it… I just wanted to leave it and I just wanted to be normal for a second." 

She is one of 13 women who have accused Matthew McKnight of sexually assaulting them between 2010 and 2016.

Almost three years after the woman met McKnight at a bar, she again went to police after seeing media reports about other women who had accused him of sexual assault.

McKnight has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The woman, whose identity is protected under a publication ban, told court she went with a friend to Knoxville's Tavern on Jasper Avenue in December 2013.

After consuming several drinks, she said her memories of the evening became blurred. At one point, she recalled walking through an alley with McKnight  and two of her friends. She had to lean on her friends to walk, she said, and needed support to stand.

The woman didn't know it at the time, but the group was headed to McKnight's apartment. 

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She recalled sitting on a couch in the living room and feeling "really heavy," like she couldn't easily move her limbs.

Her next clear memory was of waking up on the floor of McNight's en-suite bathroom, mostly naked, and sore.

"I didn't know what happened. I felt sick and dirty and I couldn't remember anything that happened," she told court, speaking through tears.

The woman said she rushed out of the apartment. A friend drove her home, and she later went to police.

'You bought into that narrative'

Defence lawyer Dino Bottos questioned the woman on discrepancies between her 2013 statements to police and what she later told authorities. The woman initially told a detective she had consumed significant alcohol throughout the evening, but later said she had a few drinks before McKnight offered her a "promotional" drink that left her seriously impaired.

Bottos suggested the woman mounted a campaign against McKnight over the next several years, contributing to a narrative in the Edmonton bar industry that he drugged women to sleep with them.

He suggested her report to police in 2016 was informed more by what she had heard from others, than her own memories of that night.

"You bought into that narrative and then re-told your story to fit within that narrative," he said, later adding, "Things got filtered into your head from other people, including the media release."

The woman — who worked at another Edmonton bar — acknowledged she would tell women to stay away from McKnight, but said she didn't discuss the exact details of her experience on a wide-scale basis.

Bottos suggested that when she got to McKnight's apartment she knew she was engaging in sexual activity, and that her memory has been affected by the passage of time and her consumption of alcohol that night.

The woman maintained she couldn't have consented to sex.

"Personally, I don't think it's possible [to consent] knowing the state that I was in." 

The trial continues.