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Edmonton based businessman facing trial for sexual assault

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains mentions of sexual assault.

Marco Castro-Wunsch, a former supervisor at an Edmonton-area composting facility, is facing trial for alleged sexual assault involving a young intern.

Castro-Wunsch is being tried without a jury at the Court of King’s Bench in Edmonton following a previous conviction overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal last year.

The appeal court found the trial judge had put excessive stock on text exchanges between the complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, and a friend.

The new trial, that started this week, will focus on a charge of sexual assault dating back to July 16, 2018. Castro-Wunsch has entered a plea of not guilty.

The complainant, who was 21-years old at the time, testified Monday that she had interned at the facility for a few months that summer. On the morning of the alleged assault, she arrived to find Castro-Wunsch the only person on duty.

“I thought very highly of him,” she said. “I liked the people I worked with and I was happy to go to work every day.”

According to her testimony, he greeted her with a hug before they proceeded to his second-floor office to discuss an art commission. There, she said, he attempted to kiss her, and subsequently held her against her will, allegedly assaulting her repeatedly over several hours.

She recounted instances where she pleaded with Castro-Wunsch to stop, even mentioning his family, but she said he ignored her requests.

“I would just be trying to get my clothes back on or you know readjust my clothes and then by the time I would be trying to leave the office he would already be back,” she said.

The woman described feeling unable to escape due to Castro-Wunsch’s presence and interruptions by customers.

“I thought about trying to run but he was always between me and the exit,” she testified.

She said she managed to leave during a moment when Castro-Wunsch was occupied with a customer, taking her car keys and exiting through the building’s sole exit. She returned hours later to retrieve her belongings, only to encounter him again and allegedly face further assault.

Following the incident, she confided in her boyfriend that evening and met with company human resources the next day. She informed her parents a few days later and did not return to work.

The trial is set to resume Tuesday.