Woman testifies at sexual assault jury trial about 'excruciating' pain

·3 min read
Complainant Stephanie Douglas arrives at the P.E.I. Supreme Court Tuesday to testify at the trial of the man she accuses of sexually assaulting her in January 2014. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)
Complainant Stephanie Douglas arrives at the P.E.I. Supreme Court Tuesday to testify at the trial of the man she accuses of sexually assaulting her in January 2014. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)

A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by a man she met online told a Charlottetown jury on Tuesday that she felt shocked and violated by what happened.

Stephanie Douglas was testifying at the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island trial of the accused man.

He is Edward Thomas Mundle, 58. The Charlottetown man has pleaded not guilty to the single charge of sexual assault.

Douglas's name is not covered by a publication ban, as is usually the case in Canadian sexual assault trials, because she has told the Crown she wants people to hear what she has to say.

Consensual relationship began in 2013

On Tuesday, Douglas testified that she had been in "a no-strings-attached relationship" with Mundle after they met on the dating website Plenty of Fish in 2013.

This photo shows Stephanie Douglas in 2013, the year she met Edward Mundle through the dating website Plenty of Fish.
This photo shows Stephanie Douglas in 2013, the year she met Edward Mundle through the dating website Plenty of Fish. (Court exhibit)

That relationship included sex with dominant and submissive role-playing, both sides agree.

"It was consensual so I had no issues with it," Douglas testified about those early dates.

Yet Douglas told the court she did not give her consent for what she alleges happened to her in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2014.

It was more painful than trying to give birth. It was the most physical pain I had been subject to up to that point in my life. - Stephanie Douglas

She testified that Mundle disregarded their pre-arranged safe word, "Rumpelstiltskin," and sexually assaulted her using a handheld sex toy.

"All I felt was excruciating pain," she said in court. "It was more painful than trying to give birth. It was the most physical pain I had been subject to up to that point in my life."

Douglas said she couldn't at first process what had happened, as she'd been drinking rum: "I didn't have the capacity to think clearly."

More than a week after the incident, she said, having experienced bleeding, fever and chills, she called for an ambulance. She was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown and spent three weeks there.

She testified that the diagnosis was life-threatening sepsis, a severe type of bacterial infection.

"I walk with a cane now," she said. "Back in 2013 I did not. I was quite active … I did not have chronic pain, PTSD, liver damage [or] kidney decline."

Reliability, cause of infection disputed

Mundle's lawyer's cross-examination is focusing on the reliability of Douglas's version of events — and the cause of her infection.

Defence lawyer Peter Ghiz is pointing to hundreds of pages of medical records that he says suggest Douglas was dealing with psychiatric issues at the time of the incident, and for years leading up to it.

Edward Thomas Mundle, 58, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual assault against Stephanie Douglas.
Edward Thomas Mundle, 58, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual assault against Stephanie Douglas. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

On Tuesday afternoon, he cross-examined her about a diagnosis of PTSD in British Columbia in 2016, and her treatment by a psychiatrist in Halifax before she moved to P.E.I. for the second time in 2013. He also asked about prescription medications she had taken.

Then he moved on to questions about the sex toy she said had been used to assault her.

Douglas acknowledged it was hers. She said she took it home with her after the New Year's Day incident and threw it away years later.

Complaint laid in 2017

Douglas told the court that she wrestled for a long time with the pros and cons of going to police, not sure they would believe she was assaulted.

She finally laid a complaint in 2017, about three years after the alleged incident.

Mundle elected trial by judge and jury, so a panel of four women and eight men is hearing the case.

Proceedings resume on Wednesday.

More from CBC P.E.I.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting