A security guard working at the Snowbombing festival in Sun Peaks has been sentenced to three years behind bars for sexually assaulting a concertgoer.
Shawn Christopher Gray, born in 1981, received his sentence from a B.C. Supreme Court judge in October, but details of the incident were only made publicly available on Wednesday.
According to court documents, Gray was working as a security guard for the three-day festival in April 2017 when he came across a woman stumbling in the snow.
The woman, whose identity is protected under a publication ban, was attending the festival while staying in a rented chalet with some friends, but had become separated from her group, the court heard.
Gray, who had worked on a contract-to-contract basis for the same security company in the past, offered to walk the woman to her home – a roughly 20 minute trek – despite the company having a clear rule against this in its insurance and liability policy.
The woman told the judge that her and Gray were walking arm and arm as they made their way to the chalet, because of the slippery and uneven ground, but told him that just because he was walking her home did not mean he was going to “get lucky.”
When they got to the chalet, the woman said she thanked Gray and told him he could leave. She described starting to feel uncomfortable when Gray tried to help her with the door’s PIN code and that her stomach dropped when she realized he did not intend to leave.
Inside the home, Gray had sex with the woman against her will, the court heard. Shortly after the assault, the woman’s friend arrived at the chalet and took a photo of Gray which was later used to identify him to police.
After Gray left, the friend called 911. Two police officers responded to the call.
During the trial, Gray testified that the woman had invited him inside and was “quite insistent.” He argued that the sexual contact was consensual.
But Justice Steven Wilson said in his decision that he believed the woman’s claim she never touched, hugged nor kissed Gray and that he proceeded on the mistaken assumption that the woman’s silence and passivity coupled with a lack of physical resistance constituted as consent.
“However, silence or passivity cannot equate to communicated consent because silence and passivity do not communicate anything,” Wilson said.
In addition to three years imprisonment, Gray will be registered in the national sex offender registry for 20 years.