Verdun man arrested after online campaign and multiple sexual assault allegations
MONTREAL -- Women in Verdun can breathe a little easier after a man accused of sexually harassing women for years was arrested this week.
Several women came forward with nearly identical stories about a man in his 30s who told them he was from Toronto and needed directions to the Verdun Beach.
The interactions, the women said, didn't stop there.
"Sometimes he gets touchy," said Verdun resident Roxane Cote-Laberge. "There are some women saying that he tried to kiss them, to grab them, touch their thighs and arms. Some women said that he followed them a long distance, waited for them at the exit of some stores."
Cote-Laberge heard about the alleged assaults on the Verdun Citizens' Facebook page.
When a man approached her asking for directions to the beach Tuesday morning, she remembered the warning and description from the page.
"I understood immediately it was him," she said. "I just stopped him (and siad) 'Don't talk anymore. We are hundreds of women who know about what you’re doing. So just please stop.' and he said, 'Oh okay, sorry,' and started running."
She captured a picture of him, though, and posted it to the Facebook group page.
Montreal police (SPVM) said they received at least eight similar complaints and arrested a 29-year-old suspect Wednesday.
He was released on a promise to appear in court.
The SPVM is reminding citizens to be cautious about posting online.
"We don’t want and what could be very dangerous is people start playing vigilantes on social media," said SPVM spokesperson Andre Durocher. "Could you imagine the consequences if you got the wrong person?”
Durocher said it's preferable to bring evidence directly to the police.
In Verdun, however, those that used the Facebook group feel relieved.
"I'm very proud of everyone that's on that Facebook group," said Cote Laberge.