WARNING: This story contains graphic details of an alleged sexual assault.
A trial is underway for a man accused of sexually assaulting and forcibly confining two women in a pair of attacks that occurred just one month apart in 2017.
Peter Charlie Tsetta, 50, is charged with three counts of sexual assault and two counts of forcible confinement stemming from the two separate incidents.
Tsetta is accused of sexually assaulting and forcibly confining a woman in May 2017.
A month later, in June, Tsetta is alleged to have done the same to another woman at his home near Yellowknife.
Both of the incidents occurred after Tsetta had been released on bail for another sexual assault charge laid in March 2017 – a charge that has since been stayed.
In April 2017, after being charged with the now-stayed charge, Tsetta was granted release by a Justice of the Peace, only to be charged with two more sexual assaults only a few months later.
Tsetta was in NWT Supreme Court in Yellowknife for the first day of a judge alone trial on Monday. The complainant in the June 2017 sex assault and forcible confinement outlined the brutal details of the attack.
The woman testified she’d been drinking before going to meet with friends in downtown Yellowknife in the afternoon of June 17, 2017. There she met Tsetta, she said, who gave her shots of vodka before inviting her back to his house to drink more.
She told the court Tsetta said, “don’t worry, (you’ll) be safe.”
The two took a cab to his place where they continued to drink. They were “laughing and joking,” the woman testified.
The next thing she remembers, she told the court, was waking up to Tsetta on top of her, holding her arms down and pinning her to his bed.
“He just kept raping me,” the woman testified as she broke down in tears.
The woman said she struggled and attempted to wrestle Tsetta off of her, punching him, using her legs and doing “anything” she could “to get him off.”
The complainant said he punched her back.
She was only wearing a shirt. Her pants and underwear were gone, she said.
“Why are you doing this?” she recalled asking Tsetta during her tearful testimony.
She told the court he didn’t reply and only laughed as he continued to sexually assault her.
When she managed to get away from him, she ran to the door but couldn’t get it open.
“There’s only one door to escape in that place,” she said.
Tsetta took her back to the bedroom again where he continued to sexually assault her, she said.
After “begging” Tsetta and telling him she wouldn’t tell police, she testified, he agreed to let her leave but only if she would submit to more sexual acts.
“What choice did I have?” she asked the court.
Later, the woman said Tsetta reached up to a “mechanism” at the top of the door to his house. She heard a “click” sound, the door opened and she left.
“I was terrified,” she said. “I just kept running.”
Her only thought was putting distance between herself and “that house,” she testified.
The next morning she reported the attack to RCMP and was taken to hospital. A sexual assault kit was administered, she told the court.
‘I’ve lived in pure hate’
She said she the assault left with severe pain in her lower abdomen and bruises to her arms and legs.
The woman said she now suffers from PTSD, anxiety and nightmares.
“Even a man being too close to me,” triggers her to this day, the woman said, “because of what he did to me.”
“I’ve lived in pure hate, the only way I knew how to handle what happened,” she said.
Tsetta’s lawyer, Evan McIntyre, questioned the complainant under cross-examination about when she started drinking and how much alcohol she consumed before running into his client in downtown Yellowknife that day.
She maintained she was only slightly intoxicated by the effects of alcohol when she met Tsetta. She testified she didn’t know if she drank more than the accused that night, only that he did not appear heavily intoxicated.
The trial is set to resume on June 11.