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'We got the justice we wanted' (4 photos)

Kassidi Coyle's mom says long road finally over with guilty verdict

Judi Coyle sat in the Barrie courtroom as the judge said the one word she had been hoping to hear: guilty.

Justice Robert Gattrell found Shawn Roy guilty of sexually assaulting Judi's youngest daughter Kassidi on July 1, 2016.

Kassidi's words were part of the trial and helped convict her attacker. But the 20-year-old took her own life long before the case began. 

In a rare move, the judge ruled that the trial would proceed without Kassidi being there to testify or undergo cross examination. Kassidi's statements to friends, a 911 call and her video statement to police were accepted as evidence. 

"When I heard him finally say guilty it was like, it's over. It's finally over," said Judi, who was 'delighted' with the verdict. 

"It's been such a long, long road and such a hard time. Being without Kassidi is indescribable. She was a light. She was the brightest spot in a lot of people's lives," she said.

Melanie Smith, the oldest of Kassidi's three sisters, also attended court for the verdict along with a dozen of Kassidi's friends and supporters.

Roy left without making any comment. He's scheduled to be sentenced in April.. 

The sex assault occurred when Kassidi was sleeping over at a friend's house. Roy, who was staying at the same house, was in Barrie for the long Canada Day weekend to visit a friend he hadn't seen in 20 years and go boating.

Roy testified that he was 'hammered' that night and said his genitals must have accidentally come in contact with Coyle after he claimed he mistakenly climbed into the bed where Kassidi lay sleeping. 

The judge rejected Roy's evidence outright and accepted Kassidi's account. She was believed, her mother said, adding she has 'no doubt' her daughter's suicide was linked the attack.

"She attempted twice. I saved her twice. The third time she died in my arms. No doubt it was. She said she couldn't get his face out of her head. That's all she kept seeing," said Judi, adding Kassidi changed after the assault.

"She was the most confident, bright spot personality type person. She was very strong-willed. Had very hgh self-esteem and right after this happened it was like night and day. I couldn't get her to be happy. I couldn't help her, no matter what."

Kassidi was put on a waiting list for counselling but killed herself before the appointment. 

Another sister, Chelsea, started an online petition that now has over 130,000 signatures calling for changes to the system including timely help for victims.

"That is a big issue," said Judi. "She was sexually assaulted July 1 and her first appointment with a rape clinic was Nov 15. She died Nov. 1."

One of Kassidi's friends who was with her the night of the assault was 'very pleased' with the verdict.

Logan Vaillancourt, 22, was a witness at the trial. 

"She got her justice. She's finally at rest," said Vaillancourt, tears starting to well up in her eyes. "My life has changed completely ever since she passed away. It will never be the same."  

Judi is hoping for a ten-year sentence and will prepare a victim impact statement, along with Kassidi's sisters and friends. 

It was difficult to sit in the courtroom with Roy, she said. But the guilty verdict is a victory for the mom who fought for her daughter's day in court and getting court permission to have Kassidi's name made public so people could know her story. 

"We got the justice that we wanted. She set a precedent by a case where the victim was not surviving and still being able to get a conviction," she said of her 'miracle baby' that was born when Judi was 37.

 "She was just a really, really special girl."


Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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