MONTREAL — The trial of Quebec media star Eric Salvail opened Monday with testimony from a former co-worker who said Salvail cornered him, exposed himself and tried to force him to perform a sex act.
The 50-year-old Salvail faces charges of sexual assault, harassment and unlawful confinement for events in 1993 involving a single alleged victim.
Donald Duguay, 47, told the court he and Salvail both worked in the mailroom at Radio-Canada when he first experienced unwanted advances from Salvail. At Duguay’s request, the court has waived the standard publication ban on the identity of alleged victims in sexual assault cases.
He testified that from their first meeting, Salvail made inappropriate comments and tried to seduce him. He said Salvail later grabbed his buttocks a few times, inviting him to have sex.
Despite his repeated rejections and demands that the behaviour stop, Duguay said, the abuse only escalated.
The court heard that the two men were no longer working in the same department by Halloween 1993 when Salvail followed Duguay into a washroom, dropped his pants to expose himself and rubbed himself against Duguay.
Duguay testified that Salvail grabbed him and held him against his will. He said it was only when he threatened to scream and report Salvail that he loosened his grip and Duguay was able to flee.
Salvail, who has pleaded not guilty and opted for trial by judge alone, was one of Quebec’s most popular entertainers until he departed show business in 2017 after allegations of sexual misconduct were published by Montreal’s La Presse.
He had his own TV production company, hosted a popular talk show on Groupe V Media and was a fixture on afternoon radio in the province.