Skip to content

Palmerston man grabbed woman’s buttocks and breasts, court hears

Michael Hurst faces trial for sexually assaulting two women
Michael Hurst leaves the courthouse during a break on Monday. He's on trial for five counts of sexual assault.

*Editor's note: A publication ban covers any information that might identify the victims in this case, including details of the incidents themselves.

The trial of a Palmerston man accused of sexually assaulting two women began in a Guelph court Monday.

Michael Hurst, 45, pleaded not guilty in Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Two of the charges stem from alleged incidents involving one woman, while three relate to another.

None of the allegations have been proven. Before a jury of eight men and four women, the trial is slated to continue on Tuesday.

The incidents are alleged to have occurred between 2017 and 2020 in Wellington North.

One of the complainants took the stand on Monday, telling the jury she was attempting to help Hurst with a computer problem when he touched her inappropriately. 

He was sitting in a chair, facing the computer screen. She came to his right side and reached for the wireless mouse.

“As I did that, he reached around and grabbed my buttocks,” the soft-spoken woman said. “He squeezed my butt cheek. I didn’t know how to react. I kind of just froze.”

She then went back to what she had been doing before.

During cross examination, defence attorney Mary Murphy suggested Hurst hadn’t grabbed the woman’s butt. Rather, she brushed against him and smiled.

“I would not smile for something like that,” the woman retorted.

The second incident is alleged to have happened while the woman was hanging decorations in November of 2019. As she strung lights, Hurst allegedly grabbed her buttocks again.

Once more, Murphy suggested the woman brushed up against Hurst.

About 15 minutes after the first incident the woman told the court Hurst returned and reached around her and put both hands under her shirt, touching her breasts.

“He asked me if I liked it,” she testified, noting her reply was a sarcastic, “What do you think?”

Hurst then left.

Neither incident came with any warning and no consent was given, the woman testified.

The woman decided to take steps to avoid being around Hurst after the end of 2021.

Reader Feedback

Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
Read more