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Joshua Boyle, former Taliban hostage, charged with sexual assault, confinement: reports

by Daniella Silva and Alan Cohen /  / Updated 
Image: Joshua Boyle, Caitlan Coleman, Patrick Boyle, Linda Boyle
Joshua Boyle, center, is escorted by authorities to a media availability at Pearson International Airport on Oct. 13, 2017 in Toronto. Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three young children arrived at the airport, two days after Pakstani commandos rescued them from captors who first took the couple hostage five years ago in Afghanistan.Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press via AP

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Joshua Boyle, the Canadian man who was freed last October along with his family after being held captive for five years by a Taliban-linked group, has been charged with sexual assault and other crimes.

Boyle is facing 15 charges in all, including unlawful confinement, uttering a death threat, and one count of administering a noxious substance — Trazodone, an antidepressant — according to a statement from his attorneys.

Boyle made his first court appearance in Ottawa on New Year's Day. He appeared again briefly in court Wednesday morning with a beard and in an orange jumpsuit via videoconference from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, CTV News said. The case was then adjourned until Monday.

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It's unclear the identities of the alleged victims; a court order bars reporting on information that could identify them or witnesses in the case.

The offenses Boyle is accused of allegedly happened between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30, just after the family returned to Canada following their rescue.

Boyle's attorney said in a statement to NBC News that there was very little he could say and that "the matter is before the courts."

"Mr. Boyle is presumed innocent. He's never been in trouble before," attorney Eric Granger said. "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," he added.

Related: Freed hostage says captors killed daughter, raped wife

Boyle, 34, and his American wife, Caitlin Coleman, were kidnapped by militants while hiking in Afghanistan in 2012. Coleman was pregnant at the time.

She, Boyle and their three children born in captivity were rescued by Pakistani troops in October after five years of being held as hostages.

Coleman confirmed that Boyle was in jail and facing charges, and said in a statement that she and the couple's children "are in good health and are safe."

"I can't speak about the specific charges, but I can say that ultimately it is the strain and trauma he was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state that is most culpable for this," she said.

"Obviously, he is responsible for his own actions, but it is with compassion and forgiveness that I say I hope help and healing can be found for him," she added.

The family's rescue garnered worldwide headlines. After they returned, Coleman shared details of their captivity with NBC News in which she described home-schooling the children within the confines of the cell they were held in.

Boyle said after their release that the insurgents killed an infant of theirs while they were held hostage and that his wife was raped by a guard.

"The stupidity and the evil of the Haqqani Network's kidnapping of a pilgrim, and his heavily pregnant wife, engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan, was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorizing the murder of my infant daughter," Boyle said at the time.

Members of the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban have denied the allegations.

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