Radio host on sex assault charges
A prominent Canadian radio host has been charged with a number of sex offences.
Former Canadian Broadcasting Corp star Jian Ghomeshi has been ordered to live with his mother while the case that has rocked the country's public broadcaster is heard.
The 47-year-old is accused of four counts of sexual assault and one count of what authorities called "overcome resistance - choking", Toronto police said in a statement.
After media reports of sex allegations against Ghomeshi first emerged in October, the CBC fired the host of Q, a popular radio show on culture which was also heard on many public radio stations in the US.
Ghomeshi, who first found fame as a member of the 1990s satirical pop band Moxy Fruvous, denied the allegations, saying he had consensual "rough sex" with women.
In his first public appearance since the allegations surfaced, Ghomeshi appeared briefly in court, where a justice of the peace granted him bail on condition he turns over his passport and lives with his mother. Bail was set at 100,000 dollars. He is due in court again on January 8.
A ban on publishing details about the case has been imposed.
Ghomeshi's lawyer, Marie Henein, said told the media outside the court room that he will be pleading not guilty and the allegations will be addressed "fully" in court. A sombre Ghomeshi said nothing.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair declined to comment, saying the matter is now before the courts.
When the CBC fired Ghomeshi in October, it said his dismissal was prompted by the emergence of "graphic" evidence that he had caused physical injury to a person.
Ghomeshi defended his actions in a 1,500-word statement on Facebook, saying women consented to having "rough sex" with him and that he is the victim of a disgruntled ex-girlfriend.
After the Toronto Star reported several more allegations days later, Ghomeshi posted that he would confront the allegations "directly", but would not discuss them with the media.
In late October, police urged other women to come forward and launched an investigation after nine women contacted various media sources to report incidents of assault and sexual assault involving Ghomeshi.
One of the women who contacted police was actress Lucy DeCoutere, a star of the long-running TV and film series Trailer Park Boys.
DeCoutere was the first woman who made allegations against Ghomeshi to speak on the record about her experience. She said she went on a date with him and alleges that when they returned to his home, he pressed her up against a wall, choked her and slapped her across the face several times.
In a statement issued today, DeCoutere said the Ghomeshi scandal has led to "a major shift" in Canada's conversation about violence against women.
"It has been an overwhelming and painful time for many people, including myself, but also very inspiring. I hope that victims' voices continue to be heard and that this is the start of a change that is so desperately needed," she said.
Author and lawyer Reva Seth became the second woman to go public, writing in the Huffington Post that Ghomeshi put his hands around her throat and sexually assaulted her, although it was not known if she was one of the women who filed a complaint to police against Ghomeshi.
After he was fired, Ghomeshi launched a 55 million-dollar lawsuit against the CBC for breach of confidence and defamation but dropped the case yesterday. A union grievance alleging dismissal without proper cause remains.