On May 16, 2015, the 28-year old victim was on her way home around 12:45 a.m. after socializing with friends at a downtown pub. A male friend accompanied her until she was a half block from her apartment, not far from Hotel Saskatchewan.Kenton Desjarlais pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault for choking and raping a stranger in a Regina back alley.
As she cut through a back alley, Desjarlais rode his bicycle alongside her and started making lewd comments and touching her.
The well-educated, ambitious young woman described in her victim impact statement how she felt fear like never before. Previously “a happy, confident, independent, strong, easy-going woman,” that night she turned into “a terrified fighter.”
When Desjarlais tackled her in front of a dumpster, she gouged his eyes and scratched his face — but he choked her unconscious.
In her victim impact statement, she said, “I felt like I was leaving this earth forever.”
“I felt my body shut down limb by limb, muscle by muscle … my voice, my lips, my eyelids … then my mind.”When she came to, her pants and underwear were pushed down, and Desjarlais had forcibly penetrated her.
The victim eventually escaped. After Desjarlais was arrested, and she learned that he was HIV-positive, she faced four weeks of potent post-exposure antiretroviral drugs and six months of anxiety while she waited for negative test results.
As it turned out, Desjarlais was routinely taking antiretroviral drugs, at least 90 per cent of the time. The virus was essentially undetectable in his blood.
Dr. Alex Wong, an infectious diseases specialist in Regina, told CBC news people often wrongfully assume that HIV-transmission is automatic.
“For people who are HIV-positive who are responsible, i.e. taking medications and fully-suppressed, I do think we need to be mindful of the fact the risk of transmission is very, very close to zero if not zero altogether.”