For the second time in two months, Curtis Sagmoen has been found guilty of a charge committed against a sex worker at his North Okanagan property.
The 39-year-old was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm at the Vernon Law Courts Tuesday afternoon. The conviction relates to an incident on Aug. 10, 2017, in which Sagmoen invited an escort to his Salmon River Road property.
Sagmoen is scheduled to appear in court on March 2 for sentencing.
In her testimony on Monday, Feb. 10, the escort – a woman and the complainant in the trial whose name is protected by a publication ban – said Sagmoen hit her with his ATV while she was on his property, causing her to suffer a concussion, a fractured tailbone and road rash, among other injuries.
The ruling from B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gary Weatherill was followed by cheers and a round of applause from protesters in the gallery, who held a rally on the courthouse steps that morning, as they’ve done consistently over the course of Sagmoen’s recent trials.
In December, Sagmoen was found guilty of threatening a different sex worker with a firearm in August 2017 – just weeks before the incident he was found guilty for on Tuesday. He was released on those charges on time served, but given 36 months probation with strict conditions.
Much of Monday was spent hearing from the complainant, who said her services were requested for three or four hours on Aug. 10, 2017. She said she expected to earn between $900 and $1,200 for her services that day.
When she went to the property, no one was home. She described the property as “sketchy” with “No Trespassing” and “Keep Out” signs.
“I was uncomfortable so I backed out of there,” she told the court.
She said she saw Sagmoen drive past her on an ATV, who asked her to follow him down to a creek. Not able to get her car down the narrow path, she was asked to walk down and grab a bottle from the back of his ATV.
She did and was offered a drink, which she refused.
“He pretended to have a sip and put it in his pocket and said it was a sipping booze.”
She was asked for her services, but declined at the edge of the creek because she had not yet been paid.
He asked her to follow him up a dirt road to his house, but her car got stuck. While trying to help get her car unstuck, a man out walking happened upon the pair. That man also later testified.
“I got the impression he wished I wasn’t there,” the man stated, adding he’d previously seen other strange vehicles in the area.
Meanwhile the escort and her client managed to get the car out, but not wanting to get stuck again, she caught a ride on the ATV where she was told his home was.
At one point they stopped and feeling uneasy about the situation, she asked to be brought back to her car.
She told the court Sagmoen appeared to be pretending the ATV would not start. She told him she would walk back down the hill.
“I knew his quad didn’t break down but he was pretending like it had broke down.”
While walking, she heard the quad start up and moved to the edge of the road to let it pass. She assumed he would drive past her; instead he plowed into her.
“Instead of going by me, he hit me square from behind. He hit me so hard I flipped over him.”
The woman said she was thankful she didn’t lose consciousness, but said she suffered a concussion, a broken tail bone, road rash up the back of her legs, many bruises and a lump on the back of her head.
“I just remember hearing the crack when the quad hit the back of my head,” she said.
When she stood up, he seemed “surprised” and she asked why he would do that. He responded that he didn’t mean to.
“He had hit me so hard that I couldn’t find my shoes and I couldn’t find my keys which were in my hand at the time.”
She found her keys and headed back down towards her car, walking backwards because she was scared to turn her back to him.
When she reached her car, he asked her to follow him again.
But at the end of the road, when he turned one way, she went the other and headed straight home.
“He just tried to kill me, in my eyes. I just wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible,” she said.
“I personally didn’t find him intimidating until he ran me over,” she said, adding that in her profession she has never been given a reason to be afraid of anybody and nothing bad had ever happened to her.
On Tuesday defence lawyer Lisa Helps argued that the complainant’s testimony was unreliable and an exaggeration of the events that took place. Failing that, the defence attempted to frame the ATV assault as an accident.
Crown prosecutor Juan O’Quinn spent much of Monday morning defending the reliability of the complainant’s testimony.
“Everything she tells us about her recollection of what happened is consistent,” he told the court.
O’Quinn refuted the defence’s argument that Sagmoen accidentally ran into the woman with his ATV.
“He objectively should have known… that his actions would have caused injury to her,” he said.
Sagmoen’s family property became the subject of an extensive search in the fall of 2017 and the remains of 18-year-old Traci Genereaux were discovered.
No charges have been laid in connection with Genereaux’s death.
In an unrelated case stemming from a 2013 incident in Maple Ridge, Sagmoen pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years’ probation in Feb. 2019.