MONTREAL — Sixteen potential new alleged victims have spoken to Longueuil police in connection with a former Montreal police officer and minor hockey coach accused of committing sex crimes over a 25-year period.
Francois Lamarre, also known as Frank, faces charges of gross indecency, indecent exposure, sexual assault, sexual touching and invitation to sexual touching involving four alleged victims in the Montreal suburb of Greenfield Park.
The 71-year-old is expected to appear at the Longueuil courthouse later this week on charges involving four initial complainants, who were boys between the ages of nine and 16 at the time of the alleged offences.
Longueuil police said Monday they’ve received 27 calls thus far from Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and the United States since announcing Lamarre’s arrest on Dec. 4.
“The investigators have identified 16 potential victims from those calls and the others are witnesses or want to report what they know,” Sgt. Patrick Barriere said. “We know it takes a lot of courage to speak out about those types of events.”
Barriere said no new charges are expected for the time being, but investigators will meet with everyone who has contacted them. They are also encouraging anyone else with information to get in touch.
The crimes are alleged to have been committed between 1972 and 1997 at Lamarre’s home, in his car and at arenas.
Some of the alleged victims were youth involved in hockey, while others lived in Lamarre’s neighbourhood.
Lamarre, who retired from the Montreal police force in 1994, was a hockey coach in Greenfield Park from 1970 to 1980. The former town is now a part of the City of Longueuil.
Released under conditions, Lamarre is forbidden from contacting the complainants and from being in the presence of minors or near parks, schools or community centres.
He could not be reached for comment Monday.
Wade Wilson, a municipal councillor representing Greenfield Park, came forward earlier this month in a statement provided by the borough as one of Lamarre’s alleged victims.
He said Monday he believes there might be as many as 100 potential victims.
Barriere said investigators do believe there are other people out there who are victims or were witnesses.
“The four big heroes of this story are the ones who initiated it,” Wilson said of the initial victims. “They came out and they’ve been pursuing this for a while — especially an individual in Ontario.”
When the story broke, Wilson said it was the least he could do to come forward and provide assistance to others.
He said he has personal regrets about not coming forward sooner, but given Lamarre’s police credentials and his standing the community, it felt impossible.
“The least I could do is come forward and advise people that it’s okay…. Speak to somebody, don’t hold it inside for ever,” Wilson said. “It’s a terrible, dark secret to keep for such a long time, and it has to be addressed and you have to move forward with it at some point.”
No charges have been laid related to Wilson’s complaint, which was filed Wednesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 16, 2019.
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press