Accuser testifies in sex assault trial of former AFN Vice-Chief Morley Googoo

Morley Googoo, right, follows his lawyer, Christopher Conohan, into Wagmatcook Provincial Court on Apr. 22, 2022 for his sexual assault trial/Photo by Stephen Brake

Warning: This news story contains details of sexual violence

The woman who has accused former Assembly of First Nations Vice-Chief Morley Googoo of sexual assault said she felt “weird” after consuming a soft drink he offered her on the night of the alleged incident.

Googoo, 53, is currently on trial in provincial court in Wagmatcook First Nation, N.S. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in March 2013 at his home in We’koqma’q First Nation, N.S. while he was serving as the AFN vice-chief for the Mi’kmaw First Nations in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

The trial got underway on April 22. Googoo, who was charged in December 2020, elected to be tried by judge alone.

Wagmatcook Provincial Court/Photo by Stephen Brake

The woman, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, testified in court that she visited Googoo at his home one evening in March 2013. She said she was there to discuss bringing an anti-violence program aimed at youth to a First Nation community when the alleged sexual assault occurred.

She told the court that when she arrived, Googoo offered her a soft drink and she started to feel weird shortly after consuming it. She said she remembered “staggering” into a bedroom with Googoo assisting her. She said he sat her down on the bed, undressed her and then sexually assaulted her.

She testified that she left his place shortly after waking up in the middle of the night and drove home.

“I woke up the next morning, I was sore but I didn’t know why I was sore,” the woman said in court.

She testified that she didn’t remember the assault until early in 2020 when she began experiencing flashbacks. She said she confronted Googoo about it by sending him a text message. She said he replied that he didn’t remember.

Morley Googoo expected to testify on April 29

Under cross-examination, Googoo’s defence lawyer Christopher Conohan spent most of his time questioning the complainant about her October 2020 statement to the RCMP over what he described as several inconsistencies between that and the testimony she gave in court.

In one instance, Conohan asked about a particular statement she made regarding a conversation she had with Cheryl Maloney, the former president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association.

Conohan asked the complainant if she decided to file the complaint against his client after she spoke with Maloney about what he described as a “public dispute” between Maloney and Googoo.

Morley Googoo in 2017/Photo by Stephen Brake

Maloney had filed a harassment and discrimination complaint against Googoo in 2018 while he served as the chair of the Mi’kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum. As a result of the findings of the complaint, the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Mi’kmaw chiefs voted to remove Googoo as AFN vice-chief in late 2019.

“No. This was my peace,” the woman said in response to the timing of her accusing Googoo of sexual assault.

Googoo’s ex-wife, his son and his son’s friend and neighbour testified for the defence. All three witnesses were asked questions about Googoo’s work schedule, his routine and his visits with his children while he was at home in We’koqma’q around the time the alleged sexual assault had occurred.

Judge Shane Russell adjourned the trial until April 29 when Googoo is expected to testify.

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About Maureen Googoo 270 Articles
Maureen Googoo is an award-winning journalist from Indian Brook First Nation (Sipekne'katik) in Nova Scotia. She has worked in news more than 30 years for media outlets such as CBC Radio, the Chronicle-Herald and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Maureen has an arts degree in political science from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, a journalism degree from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.