Trial begins for Curtis Sagmoen, accused of threatening B.C. sex worker with a gun
A trial began on Monday in BC Supreme Court in Vernon, B.C., for Curtis Sagmoen, a 38-year-old man accused of pulling a gun on a sex trade worker in the North Okanagan in August 2017.
Sagmoen faces charges of disguising his face with intent to commit an offence, intentionally discharging a firearm, pointing a firearm, uttering threats, careless use or storage of a firearm and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
WATCH: (February 2018) Curtis Sagmoen faces assault charges after sex workers come forward
Those charges stem from an incident in which police said a woman used a website frequented by sex trade workers to arrange a meeting with a man near Salmon River Road.
Curtis Sagmoen in court this morning for trial. Crown and defence currently arguing for a publication ban on evidence presented in voir dire. Concern about publication of witness testimony before trial proper. pic.twitter.com/hgYC0af5Ze
— Megan Turcato (@meganturcato) September 9, 2019
However, when she got there a man took out a firearm and threatened her, police said. The woman was not hurt in the incident.
Sagmoen selected to be tried by judge alone and the trial is expected to last several days.
Sagmoen faced national media scrutiny in 2017 when a property owned by his parents on Salmon River Road near Salmon Arm, B.C. was the centre of a massive RCMP operation.
In late October 2017, human remains of Traci Genereaux, 18, were discovered on the 24-acre family farm, according to RCMP.
WATCH: (November 2017) Friends express sorrow for Salmon River Road victim Traci Genereaux
Genereaux went missing on May 29, 2017. Her mother last heard from her by text message.
Police said she was last seen around the 24 Avenue area of Vernon, known as the Red Light District, talking to someone in a white van.
A car accident had caused a back injury that left Genereaux addicted to heroin because of the pain, according to her mother Laurie Nixon.
She would sell sexual services, said Nixon, in order to buy drugs.
“She wanted out,” Nixon told Global News in November 2017.
Police said Genereaux’s death was suspicious, however no charges have been laid in connection to her death, and Sagmoen has not been named a suspect.
“The investigation remains active and ongoing and I have confirmed with investigators… that no charges have been laid,” said Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet on Monday.
Sagmoen is, however, facing charges of threatening and assaulting women in four separate and unrelated cases.
He has since pleaded guilty in two of the cases.
In December, Sagmoen was handed an absolute discharge after pleading guilty to mischief where a homemade spike belt was used to puncture the tires of a woman’s vehicle.
WATCH: (December 2018) Absolute discharge in Vernon mischief case involving homemade spike belt
The incident took place in July 2017 when a woman drove down a driveway near Salmon River Road to which Sagmoen had access.
Sagmoen admitted he knew the spike belt was there and that the woman was using the driveway, but he did not warn the driver about it.
In February, Sagmoen pleaded guilty in Port Coquitlam in relation to a 2013 attack on a sex trade worker in Maple Ridge. He had been facing a charge of assault causing bodily harm but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault.
The court heard Sagmoen met a woman on Craigslist who was advertising massage and escort services. She attended his Maple Ridge townhouse, and a dispute over payment for services ensued.
He assaulted her and she suffered injuries to the back of her head. The victim left Sagmoen’s townhouse, he followed and a witness called RCMP.
Sagmoen was sentenced to 30 days in jail but received credit for time already served.
Sagmoen will be back in court on Dec. 9 to face one count of assault causing bodily harm stemming from an incident on Aug. 10, 2017.
Police said at the time that in the wake of the October 2017 RCMP investigation at the Salmon River Road property, the Southeast District major crime unit was “made aware of a number of allegations of violence” experienced by Okanagan-area female sex workers.
The Aug. 10, 2017 charge stems from an incident where a woman working as an online escort, using backpage.ca/backpage.com to advertise her services, was allegedly assaulted.
The victim attended a location in close proximity to the Salmon River Road property in response to an inquiry to her ad when the incident occurred, according to police.
Another assault charge Sagmoen faced under similar circumstances in July 2017 was stayed earlier this year.
“As the matter remains before the court, the (B.C. Prosecution Service) will have no comment at this time regarding the reason for the stay,” spokesperson Dan McLaughlin said at the time.
Protesters advocating against violence against women often attend Sagmoen’s court appearances at the Vernon courthouse.
A number of advocates for missing women in gallery today to watch proceedings. They made a point of sitting on sides of gallery so Sagmoen could see them.
— Megan Turcato (@meganturcato) September 9, 2019
On Monday, Jody Leon said a rally was held “to call for accountability, no more stolen sisters, to stand against violence against all women.”
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