Sexual assault trial opens for former Nova Scotia Mountie

WARNING: This story contains descriptions of sexual assault.

A woman repeatedly broke down sobbing in Nova Scotia Supreme Court as she described an incident in the fall of 1994 when she says she was sexually assaulted by a Nova Scotia RCMP officer.

The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was testifying Monday at the sexual assault trial of Kevin William O'Brien.

"I felt gross, ashamed," the woman testified. She was also a Mountie at the time of the alleged assault and had arrived in Nova Scotia after graduating from training at the RCMP depot in Saskatchewan.

She said she was "very naive."

"Two things I did not know: I didn't know that married men would cheat on their wives and that police officers would hurt people," she said.

O'Brien's lawyer, Stan MacDonald, objected to that comment.

The woman described hosting a party for co-workers at her Halifax apartment in either late October or early November, 1994. O'Brien was one of five adults who attended. She said one of the people who attended brought a baby.

The woman said she was sitting on her couch at one point, when she looked up and saw O'Brien leaning against a wall. She said he gestured for her to come over. She said he started kissing her, then forced her backward into the bathroom, closing the door behind them.

The woman said O'Brien lifted her up onto the bathroom vanity, then pulled down her pants and assaulted her. She said her head was banging into the mirror and her back was being slammed into the faucet.

Beginning to remember

"It hurt like crazy," she said.

She couldn't estimate how long the incident lasted. She said when it was over, O'Brien put on his clothes and left. She said she didn't see him any more that night.

She said after the incident, she got very drunk and doesn't remember much of the rest of the night. "I'm totally blacked out on that, sorry," she told the court.

The next day, she said she ran into O'Brien at work. She said he caught up to her in the parking lot and asked her if everything was all right between them. She said she didn't look at him, but nodded yes.

She said she worked around O'Brien for three more years before being transferred out of Nova Scotia.

She testified she put the incident out of her mind until 2017, when it all came back to her. She said she was struggling to deal with a lot of issues at the time, including the recent deaths of two close relatives. She said she had been diagnosed with PTSD and was undergoing therapy when she started to remember.

'Emotionally ... I was destroyed'

She said she had been binge eating and gambling and her weight had ballooned by more than 80 lb.

"Emotionally, I was … destroyed," she told the court.

She said she was suicidal and was in what she described as a dark tunnel.

It wasn't until 2020 that she would go to police to complain about her encounter with O'Brien.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer MacDonald focused on inconsistencies in the woman's testimony, including when the alleged assault happened. She said it was in the evening, but MacDonald introduced photos from the party which showed it was still daylight outside. She also struggled to explain how O'Brien was able to pull her jeans down to mid-thigh and how he was able to assault her without removing the pants altogether.

The woman has been the only witness to testify so far. Her cross-examination will continue on Tuesday.