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Boy, 17, charged with 11 rapes in Montreal

Rob Lurie in Montreal, CTV

A 17-year-old youth has been arrested and faces 21 charges connected with a series of sexual assaults that occurred in Montreal North over the last year.

The accused will appear in court again on Nov. 15 to have a date set for a bail hearing.

The boy was arrested in connection with 11 sexual assaults that took place starting in November of 2005, with the most recent occurring two weeks ago.

The teenager appeared in youth court Friday, wearing a black T-shirt with a picture of rapper Tupac Shakur on it. His father waved his rosary beads at his son as the charges, which include aggravated sexual assault, armed robbery and forcible confinement, were read.

The accused did not show any expression as the crown asked for him to be sentenced as an adult if found guilty.

"In youth court the most he can be sentenced to is two years," crown prosecutor Sylvie Lemieux told reporters afterward in French. "As an adult, he can spend up to 14 years in prison."

The accused will appear in court again on Nov. 15 to have a date set for a bail hearing.

News of an arrest comes as relief for people who live in the Montreal North neighbourhood.

"I'm very happy they caught him," one resident told CTV News. "I think we'll be safer in Montreal North. The young girls going to high school were very worried about going to high school."

The young age of the accused has shocked some observers. He is alleged to have committed his first assault at age 16. But police said that they are not as shocked as they once might have been.

"Five years ago we couldn't imagine a teenager (of) 15, 16, 17 could be involved as a serial rapist," sexual assault squad spokesman Cmdr Pierre Leduc told reporters. "But in 2006, I might say yeah, (the number of  young offenders) goes higher and higher -- we have more teenagers involved in sexual assault."

In August, investigators began to examine a pattern in assaults that took place in the part of Montreal bound by Albert Hudon Blvd., Lacordaire Blvd., Leger Blvd. and Henri Bourassa Blvd. E.

Each of the victims were followed during daylight hours as they walked alone, with their assailant striking up a conversation, then forcing them behind a building.

Then the assailant began using a knife. He threatened three victims with a blade in September, adding urgency to the investigation.

Police released a composite sketch last week and, based on 75 tips received from the public, narrowed their investigation.

The youth was detained on Tuesday after police used a warrant to obtain a sample of his DNA. He was released while the sample was tested and re-arrested Tuesday afternoon.

Police allege that his DNA matched that found on two of the victims.

The victims are believed to have been targeted for their physical similarities.

All were white and between 17 and 25 years old.

"The description of the victims -- they're almost the same," said Leduc. "The same ... height, the weight, the color of the hair."

 


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