Edmonton-area businessman found guilty of sexually assaulting intern

A 53-year-old man who worked at an Edmonton-area composting facility was convicted Thursday of sexual assault.

Marco Castro-Wunsch and the victim, identified by the initials AB, recounted much different versions of the events that happened on July 16, 2018.

On that Monday morning, the 21-year old intern, who had been on the job for a couple of months, bounced into work and gave her boss a hug. They were the only people in the office.

Both admitted there was kissing and touching in his office that day. But Castro-Wunsch insisted the young woman initiated the sexual contact, which he said was consensual. He and his lawyer suggested that AB reported it later as a sexual assault because she had “buyer’s remorse.”

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Tamara Friesen found that Castro-Wunsch relied on stereotypes about how sex assault victims are supposed to act.

“AB did not scream, cry or use her phone to contact her friends or family at any point in the day to ask for help, because she was not scared and did not need help,” Castro-Wunsch testified.

But when AB testified in March, she said she was confused and terrified for most of that day and that Castro-Wunsch made the first move by kissing her. 

“She tried to back away but there was nowhere to go,” the judge wrote in her decision. “She said she was trying to get away but she felt trapped.” 

AB testified she repeatedly tried to push Castro-Wunsch away. She said he laughed and kept telling her she felt guilty for wanting to have sex with him. 

The young woman stayed in the office for most of the day. She said Castro-Wunsch left briefly several times to attend to truck drivers dropping off waste but she never had enough time to escape. 

Instead she texted her girlfriend with messages, which were entered into evidence.

She wrote, “Extreme SOS I am so upset,” and “He tried to take me on his desk,” and “I’m scared.”

AB testified that Castro-Wunsch forced oral sex on her and tried to have sex with her. 

‘She was scared and shaking’

“Every time Mr. Castro-Wunsch left, she would try to put her clothes back on, but by the time she had started to compose herself he would be back,” the judge wrote. “He was never gone for long and she was scared and shaking.”

After more than four hours, AB managed to get away.

That night, she told her boyfriend and they called the company’s HR director the next morning. A few days later, AB told her parents. Then she went to the police.

Testing later found DNA from the accused on AB’s bra and underwear.

Defence lawyer Mike Danyluik told the judge that AB lied on the stand and called his client’s actions a “momentary lapse in judgment.” 

The judge found AB credible and her testimony reliable. 

“She testified that she did not consent to it, and I believe her,” Friesen wrote. “He interpreted the fact that she did not leave the situation or scream or call out for help as permission to just keep trying.”

No date has been set for a sentencing hearing.

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