Matthew McKnight was a fixture in the Edmonton bar scene, known for partying in colourful animal themed jumpsuits and sometimes only his underwear. He’d buy rounds of drinks, distributing them to pretty young women enjoying a night on the town.
In April 2016 the first — a 17-year-old girl — would report to police that she had been sexually assaulted by McKnight. Many other women soon came forward with their own experiences of assault at the hands of a man whose exploits had been an “open secret” for far too long.
This past fall, Matthew McKnight pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of sexual assault against 13 different women. In January, a jury found him guilty of five of them. Now, as he awaits sentencing, the case is being scrutinized as one of Canada’s first legal reckonings of the MeToo era — a test of how the court handled a rare case of multiple charges of assault against one serial sexual predator. Can justice really be served?