The trial of an accused serial rapist hears from the first of 7 alleged victims: ‘I thought he was my friend’

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'I thought he was my friend': Accused serial rapist's trial hears from first of 7 alleged victims



“Calgary Man on Trial for Alleged Sexual Assault of Woman in Drug Trade”

“In an unsettling turn of events, a woman named Avery, who had been involved in Calgary’s sex trade to fuel her drug addiction, testified in court that she believed Richard Mantha, also known as Poncho, wanted to help her leave that lifestyle by offering her manual labor on his rural property. However, instead of fulfilling this promise, she alleges that he sexually assaulted and attacked her on the property, shattering the image of a friend she once held.”

“A promise of work gone wrong”

“Avery shared with the court that she was eager to leave her life of addiction behind and to pursue a path to sobriety in April 2022. When Mantha picked her up in his red car, they discussed how she could utilize her construction and framing skills to work for him. This gave her hope for a fresh start and a way out of the sex trade industry. However, her excitement turned to horror when she arrived at Mantha’s property near Chestermere.”

“‘I fought back'”

“After making her way into Mantha’s trailer in a Quonset to plug in her phone, Avery recounted being subjected to a violent assault by Mantha. She detailed a harrowing experience where she was attacked, strangled, and then managed to flee from the trailer to escape towards the highway. The trauma of the events that took place left her feeling like she was being sucked into the ground, eventually collapsing and waking up in the hospital.”

“Thought-provoking conclusion”

“The upcoming trial, which involves five other alleged victims, raises questions about the treatment of women in the sex trade and the challenges they face when seeking justice. With one of the women having tragically passed away in recent months, the importance of these trials is heightened. This case highlights the vulnerabilities that individuals in the sex trade encounter and underscores the need for a fair and comprehensive legal process that addresses these issues. It is crucial to examine the ways in which society can better support and protect those who have experienced trauma and abuse in these circumstances.”



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