Iqaluit city councillor not guilty of sexual assault

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Simon Nattaq, 57, was acquitted of sexual assault in Iqaluit last week.

“He’s glad this is over and his reputation is intact. It’s been a long haul. He holds no ill will and is glad the judge accepted what he said is true,” said Greg Nearing, Nattaq’s lawyer.

A female complainant alleged that Nattaq, formerly the city’s deputy mayor and chair of the Nitsiit committee, hugged her and pressed his clothed genital area against her in a public place two years ago.

The two-term city councillor resigned after the single count of sexual assault was laid in August 2002.

Nattaq told the court last week that the woman brought him a Nitsiit committee agenda while he was working as a janitor at Inuksuk High School in mid-February 2001. Nattaq denied that any inappropriate touching or interactions occurred.

The adult female, who cannot be named because of a publication ban, offered a slightly different story. She testified that Nattaq, then 55, greeted her with a hug, which she did not like, and later rubbed his groin against her knee. Nattaq admitted he put his arms on her shoulders to greet her.

The woman reported the incidents to a school employee and to City of Iqaluit administrators. A few days later, Nattaq suffered severe frostbite in a hunting accident and later had both legs amputated below the knee.

Following the accident, he resigned from council but maintained his innocence, the court heard.

After hearing evidence from three witnesses on Feb. 21, Justice John Scanlan said he believed Nattaq’s testimony and found him not guilty.

“Even though [the judge] did not think the complainant was being untruthful intentionally, he felt Mr. Nattaq’s testimony was credible and had to acquit him,” said Michael Jones, a Crown prosecutor.

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