Ex-hostage Boyle charged with sex assault, confinement

In this Oct. 31, 2017, file photo, Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto. A lawyer for Boyle, a Canadian man recently freed with his American wife and children after years of being held hostage in Afghanistan, says his client has been arrested and faces at least a dozen charges including sexual assault. Attorney Eric Granger said Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017, that Boyle also faces assault and forcible confinement charges. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
In this Oct. 31, 2017, file photo, Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto. A lawyer for Boyle, a Canadian man recently freed with his American wife and children after years of being held hostage in Afghanistan, says his client has been arrested and faces at least a dozen charges including sexual assault. Attorney Eric Granger said Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017, that Boyle also faces assault and forcible confinement charges. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO — A Canadian man recently freed with his American wife and children after years being held hostage in Afghanistan has been arrested and faces at least a dozen charges including sexual assault, his lawyer said Tuesday

Attorney Eric Granger said Joshua Boyle also faces assault and forcible confinement charges.

Boyle, wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children were rescued last year in Pakistan, five years after the couple was abducted by a Taliban-linked militant group while on a backpacking trip in neighboring Afghanistan. The children were born in captivity.

A hearing on the case was scheduled for Wednesday in Ottawa, but the lawyer said Boyle would not attend in person. He said Boyle was in custody.

Granger said he had not seen the court documents yet.

"Mr. Boyle is presumed innocent. He's never been in trouble before. No evidence has been provided yet, which is typical at this early stage. We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges," Granger said in an email.

A publication ban bars reporting any information that could identify the alleged victims or witnesses in the case.

The family met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the leader's office last month.

Boyle told The Associated Press in October that his wife had been hospitalized in Ottawa, but did not specify why she was taken to the hospital.

"My wife has been through hell, and she has to be my first priority right now," Boyle wrote then.

Boyle also told AP that he and his wife decided to have children even while held captive because they always planned to have a big family, thinking: "Hey, let's make the best of this and at least go home with a larger start on our dream family."

"We're sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands," Boyle added. "We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn't want to waste time. Cait's in her 30s, the clock is ticking."

Boyle said then that their three children were 4, 2 and "somewhere around 6 months."

"Honestly we've always planned to have a family of 5, 10, 12 children ... We're Irish, haha," he wrote in an email in October.

The parents of Caitlan Coleman, who is from Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, said after the rescue that they were elated she had been freed, but they also expressed anger at their son-in law for taking their daughter to Afghanistan.

Pakistani troops rescued the family in an operation Oct. 11 aimed at their captors from the Taliban-linked Haqqani group.

The Pakistanis caught the Haqqani fighters at some point after they had moved with their captives across the border from Afghanistan. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said the operation was based on a tip from U.S. intelligence.

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This story has been corrected to show that the family was rescued in Pakistan.

 

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