PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – A 12-year-old Ontario girl was severely intoxicated the night she was allegedly abducted by a man in his 30s, driven to a neighbouring community and sexually assaulted, her friend testified Monday.
“She was staggering and it was really hard to pick her up because it was all dead weight,” the friend, who is now 16 and cannot be named, told the court.
The victim fell “plenty of times” while trying to walk back to another friend’s house in August 2008, she said, adding that her words were slurred and she wasn’t coherent.
The witness, the alleged victim, and another girl, now 17, drank a 26-ounce bottle of rum the night of the alleged attack, court heard.
A red van pulled up as they were struggling to help the victim walk, she testified, and a man she alleges was Stanley Tippett asked if they were OK.
“He got out of the car and put his arms under her armpits,” and pulled her over to a nearby bench, she told the court.
“He said he was calling the police and the ambulance to pick up the young girl because she was so intoxicated.”
The friend left to get help but didn’t find any, and when she returned the man, her friends and the van were gone, she said.
Tippett, 33, has pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including sexual assault and kidnapping.
The girl told court she identified the suspect to police as having “big eyes, a white shirt” and said he “looked like he had Down Syndrome.”
Tippett’s wife has said her husband and two of their five children have been diagnosed with Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes cranial and facial deformities and can affect hearing, speech and breathing.
The second friend, who is now 17, testified Monday that she was trying to drag the victim away with her because Tippett had said the police had been called and the girls didn’t want to be caught drinking.
Since the victim was unconscious, she agreed to help get her into the front passenger seat of Tippett’s van.
The victim was allegedly abducted by Tippett on a night she was supposed to spend at her grandmother’s after attending a birthday party with friends in this eastern Ontario city.
She was found by police when they responded to reports of screaming behind a high school in Courtice, just east of Oshawa, Ont., and some 70 kilometres from Peterborough.
Her family has said she doesn’t remember much about the alleged assault.
The victim is expected to testify Tuesday.
Defence lawyer Michael McLachlan tried to cast doubt on the 16-year-old’s testimony, questioning her timelines and saying she had was on probation after an assault charge and wasn’t supposed to be out late drinking.
The teen, who was combative during some parts of her testimony but broke down in tears during others, denied that claim, as well as questions about drugs being at the party.
Earlier Monday, Tippett’s wife said she was standing by him and was optimistic about the trial.
“I think it’s going to go well,” Natalie Tippett said outside court.
She said she’s remained in contact with her husband and is supporting him – despite claims last year that Tippett had been living a double life with his then-pregnant fiancee.
“We’re working on our marriage – put the past in the past,” she said.
Stanley Tippett, dressed in a grey shirt, black jogging pants and handcuffed, covered his face and declined to speak to reporters as he was escorted into the courthouse by police.
Once inside, he mouthed, “Hi” and “I love you” to his wife – who sat in the front row along with his mother, Susan Anderson.
The case began in an unusual way with Tippett’s lawyer requesting an upgrade to his client’s lunchtime meal – from a bagel and coffee to a sandwich and fruit juice – which the judge granted.
The judge also threw out a subpoena asking for the testimony of a journalist who interviewed Tippett.
The trial is expected to last two weeks and hear from 35 witnesses.