Nearly a year after New York prosecutors charged disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygard with sex trafficking and racketeering, Toronto police have followed with nine sex assault and forced confinement charges.

Toronto police released details of the charges in a statement Friday morning, as first reported by CBC. The charges date back to late 1987 and include attacks as recent as the mid-2000s.

Nygard, 80, was arrested on a U.S. warrant for sex trafficking and racketeering in Winnipeg last year. He has been accused of drugging and raping scores of women and girls as young as 14. 

Lawyers representing victims in a class action lawsuit say as many as 100 people will be seeking damages for sexual assaults spanning back to the late 1970s. He’s accused of assaults in Winnipeg, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, and at Nygard’s gated property in the Bahamas.

Shannon Moroney, a therapist working with some of Nygard’s Canadian victims, told VICE World News in May she was “heartbroken” that Canadian officials didn’t act faster in charging Nygard. She said she knew more than a dozen women who had reported assaults in Canada in 2020.

“I just have to say that I’m heartbroken, actually, about what happened and didn’t happen in equal measure,” she said.

Moroney told VICE World News the Toronto survivors she works with are relieved to see their reports to police have finally resulted in charges. “It feels like OK, it was worth it, I did it for a reason,” she said.

However, Moroney said survivors who reported assaults in Winnipeg have been told that their cases would not result in charges. Nygard began his fashion career in the Manitoba capital, and some of the earliest and most violent allegations against him happened there.

“I hope that the Toronto charges will show that it’s not the fault of the survivors in Winnipeg,” Moroney said. “This is not about the survivors being quote-unquote not good enough, which is how some of them have been made to feel. I think this is about the justice system there not being good enough, the investigation not being good enough.”

“I think we should be looking very deeply into what happened in Winnipeg,” she added.

Nygard is accused of using his company and connections to silence his victims. His employees allegedly maintained a database of women’s physical attributes, and enticed young girls with the promise of modelling work and free manicures at his Bahamian estate. A lawsuit filed in New York also alleges Nygard kept Bahamian police officials on his payroll, and required all guests to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Nygard was denied bail in February, and has been awaiting extradition to the Southern District of New York ever since.

During a hearing Friday morning Nygard signed a form consenting to extradition to the U.S. His lawyers told a Winnipeg judge that Nygard is innocent of the charges and will be mounting a defence.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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