Windsor police named in $5.5-million lawsuit filed by photographer
A local photographer has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Windsor police.
The claim stems from a 2011 incident, when police claimed that a photographer committed a sexual assault.
That charge was ultimately withdrawn, but now the plaintiff, Jason Nassr, is seeking compensation.
He is seeking $5.5 million in compensation from the officers involved in the case and the woman who made the original allegations of sexual assault.
The suit claims Windsor police were negligent in their investigation, ultimately defaming his reputation.
“There's going to be scars that I'll probably carry with me for life," says Nassr.
It's been over a year, but Nassr says he's still trying to win back his reputation.
“Emotionally, I still have issues with relating with people sometimes. I'm fearful a lot," he says.
In June 2011, the 32-year-old professional photographer was charged with one count of sexual assault.
According to the statement of claim, Nassr met with a 21-year-old woman for a photo shoot outdoors. Nassr alleges the photo shoot was going well, but became more provocative when she began to pose nude.
“The photographs from the evening in question clearly show that any sexual contact between Jason Nassr and the female sexual complainant was consensual,” says Nassr’s lawyer Colin Bondy.
Over the three-hour period, 300 photos were snapped.
The next day the woman filed a report alleging Nassr sexually assaulted her.
“She stated that when she was getting changed, Jason approached her, grabbed her, which prompted her to grab her stuff and leave," says Bondy.
The claim states surveillance video shows the pair leaving together.
Still, Nassr was later taken in for questioning.
“I was in Windsor police headquarters. I was distraught. I was outside myself," says Nassr.
At the time a Windsor police detective asked if Nassr could “guarantee that no more victims would come forward saying these things about him."
Nassr replied, “I couldn't guarantee that one person would come forward saying such things about me."
Bondy says in the investigating detective's report, she misquotes what Nassr says by stating that “I can guarantee that at least one person would come forward.”
The statement of claim includes quotes from the original Windsor police media release stating the woman “pushed the man away advising him that she wanted no part of his advances. Investigators believe that there is a possibility that the accused may have contacted and photographed more women in the same fashion."
Bondy says Nassr’s criminal defence council approached the Crown attorney that was in charge of the case and showed him the time-stamped photographs from the photo session in question that clearly exonerated Nassr and the charge was withdrawn.
None of the allegations contained in the lawsuit have been proven in court. In a statement of defence, Windsor police say the defendants were fulfilling their obligations under the Police Services Act and deny any media release defamed the plaintiff.
They also claim in their defence that the original accuser intentionally provided statements to police that she knew were misleading, inaccurate and false.
“They have never publically stated that I was innocent," says Nassr.
Bondy says the media release was only taken off the Windsor police website last week after a demand letter was written because his client is scheduled to appear on a television show.
Mediation has been scheduled for Oct. 1, but no trial date has been set.