The 54-year-old suspect was arrested this week and charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, exposing himself, and three counts of uttering threats, Toronto police say. The man was allegedly behind an extensive sex attack on underage girls in the well-to-do Markham suburb of North York between 2013 and 2017.
A police spokesperson said on Wednesday that charges were expected to be upgraded.
According to the Toronto Star, police have called the accused a man who “came to the attention of the Toronto Police Service in 2017 due to a number of complaints from victims, who were allegedly victimized during sexual assaults at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Markham in 2013 and 2014.” Investigators also say the men were alleged to have exposed themselves and touched the girls in places they did not intend to, in an attempt to make the girls “experience the unknown.”
However, the victims, who range in age from 13 to 17, did not know each other and could not identify their alleged assailant. Despite the allegations, church congregants had initially allowed the accused to stay at the church.
“By 2012, [the accused] was trying to become a priest,” a police spokesperson told the Toronto Star. “After that, complaints started coming in from different areas.”
While the alleged sex assaults took place in a small circle of people, police have not said that any evidence points to a pattern.
Read the full story at the Toronto Star.
100-year-old schoolboy sexually assaulted by fellow student
Three girls sexually assaulted on school bus by stranger