Jacob Hoggard heldley

Fans react to Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard's arrest for sexual assault

Canadian singer-songwriter Jacob Hoggard has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault involving two different women in the GTA, according Toronto and Peel Region police.

The 34-year-old entertainer, best known as the lead singer of Hedley, was arrested on Monday and is scheduled to appear in a Toronto courtroom on July 24 at 2 p.m.

A joint press release from the Toronto Police Service and Peel Regional Police indicates that Hoggard "met with two women on separate occasions" over three dates sometime in 2016.

He is alleged to have "committed a sexual assault on each of them" and, as a result, has been charged with two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm.

Hoggard also faces one charge of sexual interference, which Canada's Criminal Code defines as touching the body of any person under 16 years of age for sexual purposes.

Police said in a press release on Monday night that they are "concerned there may be other victims."

Earlier this year, Hoggard vehemently denied public allegations of sexual misconduct involving young fans.

Hedley was nonetheless dropped by its management team, booted from the Juno Awards, and blacklisted by hundreds of radio stations after those allegations surfaced on Twitter and elsewhere.

The rock-pop band continued to tour and perform for about two weeks in March amidst mounting controversy, but announced on February 28 that it would be "taking an indefinite hiatus."

In light of the arrest, some of Hedley's most hardcore fans are now changing their minds about supporting the group.

Many fans had been defending Hoggard — some of them viciously so — since the sexual misconduct allegations first surfaced in February.

Some say that the charges mean nothing, and are still publicly declaring their love and support for Hoggard on Twitter using the hashtag #IStandWithHedley.

"Anyone that has anything bad to say to me about Jacob will be ignored, I have looked up to and adored this man for many years," wrote one young woman on Twitter early Tuesday. 

"While I am very disappointed in his actions I still will love him and support him though this."

Others say the time has finally come to let go of a childhood icon.

Those who were flamed by Hedley fans following the first round of allegations, like Lizzie Renaud of Toronto's Speakeasy Tattoo, are chiding those who came at them back in February.

"If any of you Hedley supporters who made my life hell, sent me death threats or forced my shop to close for gun threats wanted to say sorry, my PayPal link is right in my bio," wrote Renaud, who offered to cover up Hedley tattoos for free when the first allegations dropped.

Others are simply surprised that it didn't happen sooner.

"I met him once," wrote one woman on Twitter. "He groped me and my friend and made some seriously sexually explicit comments in front of the other band members."

"People who grew up in the neighborhood Jacob Hoggard is from know he's always been like this," wrote another user from B.C

"There are more women who need to come forward and I personally know some of you," he continued. "I really hope that we can stop this man from further victimization of women. Please do the right thing."

Lead photo by

Trina Stewart

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