Saanich man convicted of sexual assault once behind non-profit fighting ‘sexually exploitative behaviour’

Founder of Fortress Foundation found guilty of 2017 sexual assault

Caution: This story contains graphic details of sexual assault.

A Saanich man who was once behind a non-profit focused on ‘preventing sexually exploitative behaviour’ has been convicted of sexual assault.

Joel James Conway was found guilty of breaking into a Saanich home in the early hours of March 31, 2017, and sexually assaulting a woman, identified as A.B. in court documents.

The judgment said Conway and a friend had been to her home earlier that night, but had left in a taxi around 4:20 a.m.

A.B. said that after she had locked her doors and fallen asleep, she woke up to see Conway standing next to her bed, naked, before raping her.

READ ALSO: Crown to appeal acquittal of Victoria masseur accused of sexual assault

Conway had founded the now-dissolved Fortress Foundation, a Victoria-based non-profit organization that, in its mission statement, says it is “focused on eliminating gender-based violence and preventing sexually exploitative behaviour through education, empowerment and engagement of men to become equipped to end exploitation.”

Conway self-identified as a former porn-addict and told Black Press in May 2016 that he decided to get help for his addiction after finding himself unable to listen to a female motivational speaker at a conference.

“I realized there was something there that just wasn’t right and a lot of it was deeply-seated in my connection with porn and the ideology that women are less than,” he said.

RELATED: Man’s porn addiction inspires new lease on life and women

Conway was convicted of sexual assault by Supreme Court Justice Frtiz Verhoeven on March 26.

The judgment details how, after a conference in Vancouver in March 2017, Conway told his wife he would be taking the 7 a.m. ferry back to Victoria, but instead took the 9 p.m. ferry on March 30 so he could spend the night out partying with a friend, referred to as ‘Mr. S’ in the court judgment.

After a night of drinking, he and the friend crossed paths with A.B. – who was already acquainted with Mr. S, and all three decided to share a taxi in the direction of A.B.’s home.

Once at A.B.’s home, they consumed vodka and cocaine before Conway and Mr.S. left in a taxi in the early hours of the morning.

Court documents detail how A.B. then double-checked her door was locked – also latching it with a chain door latch – before going up to her bedroom and falling asleep or “passing out.”

She said she awoke to find Conway naked in her room before he proceeded to rape her.

The judgment does not illustrate how Conway re-entered the home, as the door was latched, but Crown counsel suggested that he used the balcony to gain access.

READ ALSO: Saanich police continue to search for attacker in Gordon Head sexual assault

Conway said that as he and Mr.S had left in the taxi, he had told his friend he wanted to return to A.B.’s home because he “thought he had a chance” with her. His friend discouraged him from doing so, but Conway said he had given her his phone number to which he alleges she texted him, “Hey, hurry back.”

Conway suggested that A.B. let him in through the front door and the encounter that followed was consensual – although the door, which has an automatic lock and recording system – did not make record of the door being opened from the inside.

In his judgment, Verhoeven rejected the notion that A.B. wanted Conway to return, saying she was “exhausted and intoxicated, and wanted to go to bed.”

Later, Verhoeven stated that “there is no evidence that A.B. invited him to return, or that she allowed him into her residence, or that tends to suggest that she consented to sexual activity.”

A date for sentencing has yet to be determined.

READ ALSO: Victoria Sexual Assault Centre looks for new financial model



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Victoria woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

Gas stations could push to 167.9 cents a litre this week

Analyst says high prices are due to supply and demand

United Way celebrates volunteers, contributors in Greater Victoria area

$4.7 million was raised in 2018 thanks to the work of hundreds of people

Police charge 27-year-old man with weapons offences after Langford shooting

Justin Lemmen was arrested shortly after the shooting after crashing into a truck

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

WATCH: Cougar saunters through Metchosin yard

Spring cougar sighting caught on camera

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Island Cup set for East Sooke on May 3-5

Off-road racing event expected to attract over 50 racers

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

Experts butt heads in court, hunter loses case for return of ram

Despite expert testimony, judgement says ram probably underage

Most Read