Sexual Assault: Sexsomnia as a Defense

A professional photographer accused of sexually assaulting a friend who was sleeping at his house after a drunken night in 2018 is defending himself by claiming he suffers from “sexsomnia”.

“To this day I have no recollection of having done anything,” Yannick Giguère pleaded in his defense on Wednesday.

The 45-year-old has been on trial outside the Montreal courthouse since Tuesday. He is accused of assaulting a friend and former acquaintance in his bed at his apartment in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district on the night of July 19, 2018.

That evening, Giguère reportedly drank a large quantity of alcohol while at a bar on Crescent Street with two friends. The trio would then have taxied back to sleep with the photographer and tour guide.

During his testimony Tuesday, the alleged victim, whose identity is protected by a court order, said Giguère suggested he sleep on the tatami mats he installed in the living room for his guests or in his bed.

With condom

Both the alleged victim and the accused, a polyamorous man who was in an open relationship at the time, testified that there had been no advances between them.

However, the complainant woke up later. Giguère was then on top of her. Frozen, she would have kept her eyes closed as he grabbed her panties to penetrate her with a condom.

According to the alleged victim, the gestures would have been mechanical and devoid of tenderness.

She would have tiptoed out of the scene if the one she trusted had fallen asleep.

In a text exchange, the thirty-something accused him of his actions.

Giguère responded that he suffered from sleepwalking and sent him a link to a website that talked about “sexsomnia”.

This is a rare condition that causes people who suffer from it to crave sex while they sleep.

This can range from exhibitionism to engaging in sexual behavior without the person’s knowledge.


Yannick Giguère is in court at the Montreal courthouse all week.  He is seen here arriving on Wednesday morning.

Photo Chantal Poirier

Yannick Giguère is in court at the Montreal courthouse all week. He is seen here arriving on Wednesday morning.

Not the first time

Giguère said Wednesday that this phenomenon had occurred in other consenting sexual partners in the past and that it had been the subject of “jokes” in its wake.

However, during phone calls with Montreal police investigators in November 2018, the suspect is said to have made specific statements.

“He said he was very surprised and nothing happened. That’s what he tells me [la victime] has mental health issues and that she made things up,” Detective Sergeant Julie Harvey said Tuesday.

diabetes and dysfunction

Giguère also added that because of his diabetes and erection problems, it was “impossible that it happened”.

Prosecutor Bruno Ménard pointed out certain “inconsistencies” between this defense and the defendants’ talks on Wednesday.

In his view, these had undermined the applicant’s credibility in the eyes of the police.

Mand Ménard also implied that Giguère’s text message to the victim was intended to dissuade her from filing a complaint.

For his part, the defendant defended himself by saying that when he reported something, he was under the effects of “stress and anxiety” induced by the police calls.

Yannick Giguère’s trial will begin Thursday with testimony from forensic psychiatrist Dr.right Pierre Gagne.

Extremely rare cases

  • Defense against sexomnia is not common, but has been used a few times in Quebec in recent years.
  • A 37-year-old Gatineau resident is awaiting sentencing at his trial, which used this defense in Quebec last month. The man is accused of masturbating his sister while she was sleeping.
  • In 2018, Stéphane Péloquin was found guilty of inciting a child under 16 to touch him for sexual purposes after the judge rejected the sexomnia thesis.
  • A 50-year-old man from the Brome-Missisquoi area was found not criminally responsible for sexual assault and sexual interference with a minor in 2018 thanks to this defense.

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