Jacob Hoggard, the frontman of the Canadian pop-rock band Hedley, has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, according to Toronto police.
In a news release on Monday, police said the Surrey-born Hoggard faces two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of sexual interference. The 34-year-old allegedly sexually assaulted two females, at least one of them underage, on separate occasions over three days in 2016.
The Criminal Code of Canada defines sexual interference as when someone “for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years.”
The charges come after accusations of sexual misconduct involving young fans emerged on Twitter in early 2018.
At the time, Hedley firmly denied the accusations. They acknowledged “there was a time, in the past” when they engaged in “a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock ‘n’ roll cliches.”
But sexual misconduct was “always a line that we would never cross,” a statement from the band read.
JUNO organizers pulled the band from the award show’s lineup in March, and the band announced it would be taking an “indefinite hiatus” after its Canadian tour ended at the end of that month.
Reaction to the allegations had been mixed, with their management team, tour openers and dozens of radio stations dropping them and some fans speaking out in defence of the victims.
But some fans remained unfazed and loudly welcomed the performers to a show in Halifax earlier this year.
Hoggard is scheduled to make his first court appearance in Toronto on July 26.
Investigators believe that there may be more victims and are asking anyone with information to call police at 416-808-7474, text TOR and your message to 274637 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
– With files from The Canadian Press