U of T instructor on trial charged again for sex assault

The Globe and Mail

James Andrew Payne will not be teaching for the duration of his trial. (Chris Young for The Globe and Mail)

A University of Toronto instructor on trial for an alleged sexual assault was arrested again less than three weeks ago on a separate sexual assault charge.

James Andrew Payne, 55, is a senior lecturer at U of T’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. He stands accused of sexually assaulting a woman, aged 21 at the time, in her west-end Toronto apartment in December, 2011. His trial began Thursday and is ongoing.

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Toronto Police confirmed to The Globe and Mail that on Aug. 20, 2013, Dr. Payne was arrested again on another count of sexual assault. The previous week, the Globe and other media had published details of Dr. Payne’s 2011 charge, and “a victim came forward when she saw the news coverage,” Constable Victor Kwong said in an e-mail.

News of the 2011 charge against Dr. Payne surprised U of T officials last month; he had continued teaching in the meantime. Asked on Friday whether the university knew of Dr. Payne’s more recent arrest, a spokesperson declined to comment beyond a statement U of T released on Thursday that said, “by mutual agreement, Dr. Payne has ceased all teaching and student-related activities and will not be present on the University of Toronto campus until further notice.”

Dr. Payne’s lawyer, Steven Stauffer, said, “U of T is aware of all issues with respect to Mr. Payne,” adding, “We are looking forward to challenging this accusation as well.” Dr. Payne’s trial has been held over until late January. The Toronto court adjourned early on Friday after witnesses claimed they were threatened in the courthouse hallway by the case’s alleged victim, whose name is protected under a publication ban and who has no connection to U of T, and by her family and supporters.

Mr. Stauffer began cross-examining the alleged victim on Friday. On Thursday, she testified that as she returned home late on Dec. 10, 2011, she encountered Dr. Payne on the sidewalk. She did not know him, but they had a mutual acquaintance. She said Dr. Payne followed her uninvited into her second-floor apartment’s bedroom, forcefully removed all her clothes, and groped and kissed her as she repeatedly told him to stop, pleading, “Please don’t do this.”

On Friday, Mr. Stauffer probed the alleged victim’s recollections, questioning why her Thursday testimony had become more detailed than her initial statements to police. She repeatedly replied to the effect that the police interview was “a very new and traumatic situation for me.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court. Swabs taken from the complainant’s breasts match Dr. Payne’s DNA.

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