Gang Rape Trial Makes Toronto Cops Look Like a Bunch of Sexist Frat Boys
Leslie Nyznik, (L) and Sameer Kara arrive to Court | Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty


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Gang Rape Trial Makes Toronto Cops Look Like a Bunch of Sexist Frat Boys

By their own admission, the three accused cops acted like sexist pigs.

Warning: The following story has graphic details about an alleged sexual assault.

Toronto police officer Leslie Nyznik wants the public to believe that while receiving oral sex from a female colleague four times in one night, he managed not to touch her once. Except with his penis.

That's what Nyznik, 40, who (along with two fellow male cops Sameer Kara, 33, and Joshua Cabero, 30) stands accused of raping the woman—a female parking enforcement officer—testified to as he took the stand in his own defence.


The trio's sex assault trial wrapped up Tuesday with closing arguments. Now only the verdict, to be issued in August, remains. But whatever the outcome, the case has provided a jarring glimpse into a policing culture that seems to be the height of toxic masculinity.

The complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, said she went to Rookie Buy Night on January 16, 2015, a "networking" event where rookie officers buy veteran cops drinks. At around 3:30 AM the next morning, following stints at at CC Lounge & Whiskey Bar, Pravda Vodka Bar, and The Brass Rail strip club, she said she woke up in a room at the Westin hotel with the three men naked and feeling sick. She collected her clothes and went home. She later reported that she'd been raped orally, vaginally, and possibly anally.

The complainant told the court that at the hotel she'd been lying on the bed next to Kara, whom she'd been friends with, when Nyznik approached her and forced his penis into her mouth.

She recalled feeling like she was being penetrated by fingers and hearing a voice "asking if he should fuck me up the ass." Then she said another penis was inserted into her mouth. She said she remembered hearing "Josh stop, she's out." But later, she said Kara penetrated her and asked if could ejaculate inside her. She recalled the men laughing at her and afterward debating whether or not they still wanted to get a "hooker." She testified she was powerless to stop any of it.


Closing arguments from the defence focused on inconsistencies in the complainant's story. She couldn't remember whether or not she had to pull over in the cab ride home to be sick, the lawyers said, and she misremembered walking to the Brass Rail, when in fact they'd taken a cab (after first walking for a bit). She originally texted a friend that she'd had at least 10 drinks throughout that night, but that number later came down to around seven. Videos of her outside the hotel appeared to show her talking and walking normally, as opposed to being incapacitated.

The defence also harped on the fact that while in hospital waiting to take a rape kit, the complainant, who claimed she was unable to see or move during the assaults, researched date rape drugs and found that they cause loss of consciousness, respiratory distress, and nausea—symptoms she later reported feeling. "Those symptoms are taken directly from the internet research," said lawyer Harry Black, who is representing Nyznik. Ultimately, Black argued that the woman was simply ashamed of her behaviour from that night and so she made up being raped. "The complainant came to regret her own choices and decisions immediately after she voluntarily and consensually engaged in the sexual activity in question because she feared embarrassment, what people would say, what people would think, what people would whisper, what people might joke about and how this would affect her reputation and potentially her employment."


But then it was the Crown's turn to give closing arguments and Crown prosecutor Philip Perlmutter told the court Nyznik's account of what took place that night was "scripted."

According to Nyznik's testimony, the complainant at Brass Rail said she wanted to engage in a "spit roast" (threesome) with Nyznik and Cabero at a hotel room they'd booked with Kara. (Kara was already back at the hotel, having passed out drunk earlier.) When they got back there, he said the complainant unzipped his pants to pull his penis out and begin giving him oral sex as she lay next to Kara on the bed.

That's when Cabero came out from the bathroom and said "Looks like you're having a party, can I join you?" to which he claimed she replied, "Sure." She then, according to Nyznik, had sex with Cabero, had sex with Kara, and repeatedly performed oral sex on him, four times in total. At one point, he testified she engaged in sex acts with all three of them at the same time.

Perlmutter called out Nyznik on his claims Tuesday.

"Mr. Nyznik's evidence is a script from a movie where he plays the role of the film producer he wanted to be and he wrote unbelievable dialogue for his co-accused," he said, noting the idea that he could abstain from touching the complainant while receiving oral sex four times, except to wipe his semen off her chest, "defies belief."

For context, earlier in the night Nyznik, having been rejected by his ex-girlfriend at Pravda, was flirting with a stripper at Brass Rail and told her he was part of a porn film crew visiting from Miami.


According to the Toronto Star, he asked the stripper, "why don't you come back to the hotel for a private audition?" and then testified he asked the complainant to film it—but she responded that she wanted to join in.

"He was desperate for sex, he was prepared to lie to get it," said Perlmutter.

Nyznik's testimony also painted the complainant as odd and somewhat clingy. At one point, he said she tilted her head and just smiled at him; she made sexual innuendo; she was the only woman in a crowd of guy cops and decided to go to the strip club and later the hotel, uninvited. Perlmutter essentially wrote this off as victim blaming.

"That is all predicated on this notion which the Supreme Court has rejected that this type of behaviour is somehow relevant to what happens later," he told the court.

When one of the complainant's friends, also a parking officer, testified, her text messages to the complainant revealed she was worried the accused would "brag" about the assaults.

"I'm just so worried they'd turn this around on you," the friend said, to which the complainant replied, "more reason I can't say shit." The complainant had aspirations to become a cop herself, the court heard.

Adding insult to injury, the detectives assigned to investigate the case failed to obtain video from the hotel and cab, which are now lost. As such, the defence is calling for the charges to be dropped outright, arguing those videos would have helped their case.

Incompetence; misogyny; officers who by their own admission act like sexist pigs; and an apparent culture of fear. Is it any wonder so few victims report sex assaults?

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.