LETHBRIDGE: Sergio Ivano Cattoni of the city has been acquitted on three counts of sexual assault.
The 54-year old Cattoni was accused of sexually assaulting two women on three separate occassions, while the three were working on the Gardens seniors complex in West Lethbridge in the summer of 2010.
In the first incident Cattoni was accused of approaching a 39-year old woman from behind, pulling her into a washroom and sexually assaulting her. She claimed that after the incident she told her supervisor what had happened, however she stated that she didn't want to contact police as she was afraid she may have "provoked" him into it.
Cattoni countered by saying that they did have sex, but that it was consensual.
Judge Jerry LeGrandeur stated Friday morning that after reviewing both accounts of what happened, Cattoni's was far more realistic. He went on to note that during questioning in the trial she said that she would never let Cattoni kiss her as it would be "crossing a line", however journal entries she wrote, which she allowed Regional Police to take notes from, stated that "he's always giving me hugs and the odd kiss on the cheek, not often though." He added that she also denied ever having a relationship with her boss at the work site, however when on the stand her employer noted that at the time they were involved. LeGrandeur explained that it damaged her credibility in the case to the point of reasonable doubt.
LeGrandeur also had issues with the testimony of the other woman, who had just turned 18 at the time of the alleged attack.
She said that she was sent to look for a ladder on the fourth floor of the complex they were working on when she passed Cattoni. She then testified that as she walked into a room he came in behind her and shoved her into a wall, pinning her there and lifting her shirt. She stated that she pushed him back and left, while he followed her trying to apologize and telling her he was only trying to compliment her chest.
She went on to say that there was a second incident later on, possibly in early August. She said that after a night of smoking marijuana with Cattoni and leaving because she was uncomfortable, he sent her a text message around 6:30 in the morning, asking her to come to his place so he could show her something. She declined saying she needed to prepare a lunch for work so he offered to give her money for lunch. She decided to go and when she arrived she commented that he was waiting without a shirt on. She then said that he pulled her upstairs by her hands and tried to kiss her. She said that she tried to pull away and he pushed her onto a coach and put his hand into her pants. As she cried on the stand she stated that she told him no and managed to push him off and started to leave. She said he then offered her $20, which she declined saying it was too much for lunch, and then accepted $5, explaining that she was "broke" and needed lunch that day.
A cross examination by the defence council revealed that on another occassion she was having car trouble and she asked Cattoni for help. She then testified that she offered him some marijuana after he helped get her car running and they sat in her car and smoked it. She admitted that he leaned across and touched her breasts, but stated she couldn't remember exactly what happened, only that it ended quickly.
Further questions from the Crown prosecution showed that she forgotten about the incident until the trial, and had not revealed it to Regional Police during their investigation.
LeGradeur said the story created "serious credibility issues", saying that the sexual encounter in her car does not make sense if she was afraid of him. He also stated that in the incident where he allegedly attacked her and then offered lunch money, a person who feared for thei