UPDATE: Cross-examination continued in Antonio Sarmiento’s sexual assault trial
Editor’s Note: This article contains explicit descriptions of sexual assault that may be upsetting or disturbing to some readers. If you or someone you know needs help, the Kawartha Sexual Assault Center offers a 24-hour hotline at 705-741-0260.
Antonio Sarmiento’s sexual assault and sexual exploitation trial continued in Cobourg court, with cross-examination and virtually the first witness on the stand.
Judge John Payne is presiding over the trial, which began on June 24 via the Zoom teleconference.
Cobourg resident Carlos Eduardo Sarmiento, also known as Antonio Sarmiento, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
On September 12, 2019, the Port Hope Police Department said Sarmiento, 49, had been arrested and charged with seven counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual exploitation.
Sean Fraser represents Sarmiento as the case is pursued by Crown Attorney Mareike Newhouse.
During the third day of testimony on June 29 in the judge-only trial, the complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was cross-examined by Fraser.
Her questions focused on a particular incident where the complainant said she did not want to have sex with Sarmiento inside a hotel room.
The court heard that Sarmiento picked up the plaintiff in Northumberland before heading west on Highway 401 to a Durham Region hotel.
âHe started having sex and I remember still not being sure I wanted that to happen and being scared, not in control,â said the complainant.
The complainant went on to say that the accused started sexual activity with a kiss and “I kissed him back”.
“The next thing I remember was starting to cry and saying I didn’t want to have sex that day,” she said, adding that Sarmiento had tried to calm down and had mentioned that he had already paid for the room. “He waited a bit before continuing to have sex with me.”
Fraser asked him if Sarmiento had asked him, “Are you okay?” Or “Can we do that?” the complainant said she did not remember.
“I think if he even said it’s ridiculous to ask a crying young woman if it’s still OK to do it when it obviously isn’t,” she said. to the court.
Fraser then asked if it was fair to say that on all other occasions the complainant met Sarmiento and had sex in a hotel room, âat that point you were okay, you wanted that to happen? “
After a long pause, the complainant said, âSorry, I just don’t like the word ‘I wanted to’, but certainly, yes, I was okay with that at the time. “
When asked to explain the distinction between “agreeing to that” and “wanting” to have sex, the complainant said that “Okay” accepted your situation and “wanting” was looking of something.
âNow there are times when I sent a message to Antonio, when I looked for him and wanted it to happen at the time; however, at first, in this first instance, I was just okay with what was going on, âshe said, pointing to the first time Sarmiento allegedly initiated sexual activity in his office.
âDuring that first instance, when I was 17, I was okay with that, and then I accepted my reality,â she told the court. “I was still a teenager at the time, so I became dependent on this person who had authority over me.”
The Crown called a witness on the third day of the trial who will continue to testify when the case returns to court on Friday August 6.