A former youth outreach worker for the Ontario government has been acquitted of sexual assault.
Oluwasegun (Segun) Akinsanya, 32, was charged with two counts of sexual assault in July 2017, stemming from allegations from December 2016 and early January 2017.
He was found not guilty on both counts in December 2019.
In her judgment, Ontario Superior Court Justice Nancy Spies said she had issues with the credibility and reliability of the complainant’s evidence, including “a possible motive to fabricate.”
VICE previously reported on the charges and attended a preliminary hearing, but did not report on the details of the allegations laid out in the hearing, which fell under a publication ban.
In a statement, Akinsanya said this period has been “extremely painful and deeply personal for me and those around me.”
“I have dedicated the last decade of my life to helping others with a goal of making life fundamentally easier for those who face barriers, including victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse,” he said.
“It’s the fear of not being believed that stops women from coming forward. I believe survivors. I look forward to being able to continue social advocacy, and continuing to support those marginalized.”
From September 2016 to December 2017, Akinsanya worked as a capacity building specialist for the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a provincial agency that funds community projects. His work focused on helping marginalized youth.
In 2016, Akinsanya was featured on the cover of Toronto Life for a story titled “My Life in Street Gangs, which detailed how he became involved in criminal activity, including robberies and selling drugs. In April 2006, he got into a fight with a teenage boy who he said stabbed him in the neck at a Coffee Time in Toronto; Akinsanya said he got a hold of the knife and stabbed the teen back, killing him. He served two years in jail for manslaughter.
According to the Toronto Life feature, while in prison, Akinsanya decided he wanted to help kids who’d faced the same barriers as him, including peer pressure, single-parent households, racism, low incomes, gaps in the school system, and precarious housing.
When he got out, he founded a youth program called Bright Future Alliance and later teamed up with other philanthropic organizations, eventually landing at Trillium.