Niagara Regional Police said Thursday that they were able to break up a recent sexual assault in progress because the victim's cellphone was on during the course of the attack.

"She made contact (with 911) but was unable to converse on the phone," Det. Sgt. Paul Bevan told CTV Toronto. "The telephone acted as a microphone inside the room."

Because the phone was still on, the 911 operator had to listen to the attack in progress, he said.

The incident occurred in Niagara Falls during the early morning hours of Wednesday.

"As the investigation unfolded into where the open line call was originating from, the 911 operator was able to overhear the conversations within the room and provide updates to the responding members," police said in a news release.

The content of the information from the call didn't provide the woman's location. Police triangulated the cellphone's signal, Bevan said.

They determined that the incident was taking place at a Lundy's Lane motel. It took about 10 minutes from the time the call was received, he said, adding they wouldn't have been able to find the scene had the phone not been on.

Upon investigating, officers determined that the woman knew her assailant.

The victim didn't suffer any physical injuries, Bevan said.

Police have charged Scott Orlando Joyette, 38, of no fixed address with:

  • sexual assault
  • forcible confinement
  • uttering threats to cause death

He is to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines for a bail hearing.