A Sudbury woman says she has never felt more "betrayed, violated and terrified" than when she discovered her common-law spouse of five years had been drugging her so he could sexually assault her.
The man who admitted to assaulting her, Rodney Brydges, pleaded guilty to charges of assault and administering a noxious substance and was sentenced on March 12.
Brydges was originally charged with sexual assault, forcible confinement and criminal harassment, as well as the charge of administering a noxious substance. He agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of assault, as well as the noxious substance charge.
He received an 18-month conditional sentence consisting of six months house arrest, six months curfew, and six months supervision to keep the peace. Brydges' sentence includes 12 months of probation and a two-year firearms ban. He is subject to a DNA order and will remain in the national sex offender registry for 10 years.
While serving his sentence, Brydges is not to contact his common-law spouse, her friends or family. He must not leave the province and it's been recommended he seek help for sexual deviancy.
According to the agreed statement of facts, starting in the fall of 2015, the victim woke on multiple occasions to find Brydges' aroused and attempting to force her to perform oral sex upon him. She refused. A similar scenario played out on multiple occasions.
While celebrating his birthday in November 2015, the victim rejected Brydges' request to have sex with her on the evening of Nov. 26. She awoke some time between that night and the next morning to find Brydges touching her. He held her down and assaulted her.
In an audio recording made by the victim on Dec. 7, 2015, Brydges admitted to secretly giving her Trazodone, a sleep aid she'd been prescribed, via her mouth. Brydges mixed the drug with water and administered it to the victim while she slept.
Prosecutor Lindsey Santerre presented photos of the mixtures Brydges administered.
Months after Brydges signed an agreement with the victim not to drug and assault her again. In March 2016, she again awoke to him attempting to force her to perform oral sex on him.
It was at this point she told her daughter and others about what had been happening and moved out. When Brydges refused to leave her alone, she went to police.
Brydges, through his attorney, Michael Haraschuk did not dispute the facts presented by Santerre. The sentence was a joint submission by the Crown and the defence.
Prior to hearing the delivery of the sentence, Brydges' victim read an impact statement in which she said the incident continues to impact her life years later.
She said that she has experienced panic attacks, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder since she exited the relationship on March 24, 2016.
"I invested everything I had into our relationship," the victim read into the court record. "The shock, the disbelief and the fear that I felt the moment I awoke to find my spouse drugging me in my sleep was incredible."
In sentencing, Superior Court Justice Alex Kurke told Brydges he may have pleaded guilty to assault, but he was, in fact, a sex offender, warning him to conduct his life differently from this point on.
"No matter where (a) relationship goes, the two partners continually have to treat each other as human beings and not as sex objects for instance — as in this case, or as something less than human," Kurke said.
"You pleaded guilty to simple assault but at this point sir, you are a sex offender," Kunte continued. He then advised Brydges, "Be very careful how you proceed."