Abbotsford Police lay charges in 1999 sexual assault

Victim was attacked while leaving large outdoor party on Ward Road

Abbotsford Police lay charges in 1999 sexual assault

More than 1,000 people attended the 11th annual Sumas Mountain Happening outdoor rock festival on Aug. 7, 1999, with bands such as Nickelback, Jar, New Big Shoes and Pleasure performing.

The festival took place on an 11.5-acre private property in the 37200 block of Ward Road. Bushes lined the long walk from where festival-goers parked their vehicles to where the concert venue was located.

Sometime around midnight, a 21-year-woman was walking back to her car when she was sexually assaulted, choked and threatened with death by an unknown man.

Now, 16 years later, the alleged assailant has been charged.

James Allen Redden, 48, of Vancouver Island has been charged with sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering threats.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said evidence was gathered following the attack, but the case remained unsolved until December 2013.

At that time, the Abbotsford Police Department’s major crime unit sent previously seized clothing evidence for DNA analysis.

In early 2014, a DNA profile was discovered and a suspect was identified.

MacDonald said that before then, there was no match because the suspect was not in the DNA database.

He said it then took some additional time for police to gather further evidence to back up their case, leading to the charges being laid against Redden on Dec. 17, 2015.

MacDonald credited the arrest to the “extraordinary bravery” of the victim, now 37, and her “strength and perseverance” in working with investigators.

This is not the first time that Redden has been charged with sexual assault.

In 2008, he went to trial and was acquitted on charges of sexual assault with a weapon and uttering threats from an incident that occurred in Nanaimo in November 1995.

The complainant in that case testified that she had been walking along the road when she was attacked from behind, taken into a ditch, raped and threatened with death.

She was not able to identify her attacker.

Redden was arrested and charged with the attack 12 years later, in 2007, but was acquitted at trial when the judge said the evidence heard at trial didn’t establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Redden was guilty.

The complainant had been a resident of a local hotel, where Redden testified he often went for casual sex with women.

Semen found on a jacket belonging to the complainant was determined to be Redden’s, but his lawyer argued that the semen was transferred there when the woman picked up clothing at the motel belonging to another resident.

with files from the Nanaimo Daily News