September 29, 2016 - 2:02 PM
TORONTO - A 32-year-old Toronto lawyer has been charged in connection with four alleged sexual assaults against teenage girls.
Toronto police allege that three girls — aged 14, 15 and 16 — were targeted in public places such as subway stations and a food court and sexually assaulted.
Det. Const. Matthew Pinfold of the sex crimes unit told a news conference on Thursday that one of the girls was allegedly sexually assaulted on Sept. 12. Pinfold alleged that girl was sexually assaulted a second time by the same man on Sept. 16.
The other two alleged sexual assaults also took place on Sept. 16, Pinfold said.
"I'm not going to discuss the nature of the sexual assaults," Pinfold said, "but I can tell you that the victims did not sustain any physical injuries."
Pinfold credited a combination of police work and the public's help with identifying the suspect.
He said police were able to track the man by using surveillance video after one of the alleged sexual assaults. He said they followed his movements going backwards from the time of one of the alleged sexual assaults. That footage placed the suspect at an unnamed business over the lunch hour in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area.
Images of the man released by police through the media helped generate tips from the public, he said.
"Obviously someone knew who this person was and recognized him and gave that information to us," Pinfold said.
Francois Lesieur, who Pinfold said is a Toronto-based lawyer, has been charged with four counts of sexual assault.
While Pinfold declined to comment on the alleged sexual assaults, he said they could be "any form of contact of a sexual nature from kissing, grabbing, groping, up to and including penetration."
Pinfold said that based on observations investigators made and the video surveillance, police are concerned that there may be other alleged victims.
Jean-Alexandre De Bousquet, a Toronto lawyer who worked briefly with Lesieur this summer, said he was surprised by the news.
"He always struck me as a mild-mannered law-abiding citizen. He's a very peaceful person," De Bousquet said.
A Francois David Lesieur is listed in the Law Society of Upper Canada's directory as a practising lawyer with the firm LeSieur Law, which is located at Yonge Street and Bloor Street.
"The Law Society is currently investigating Mr. Lesieur," a spokeswoman said Thursday in an email.
"When a licensee is charged with a crime, the Law Society will investigate and if the evidence warrants, take disciplinary action," Susan Tonkin said, noting lawyers and paralegals are required to self-report if they are charged with a criminal offence.
LeSieur Law "focuses primarily on cross-border business and immigration issues," according to its website.
Lesieur is from Ottawa and started his own practice in 2013, according to a biography on the website, which also says he plays hockey and has a black belt in taekwondo. The website also says he worked for Federal Court of Appeal for five years.
Calls and emails to LeSieur Law were not returned.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016