Suspect in sexual assaults scaring women since October

Suspect in sexual assaults scaring women since October

Man faces 10 charges

Police say a suspect charged in connection to recent sexual assaults had been on their radar since October, when they put out a public alert to help identify a man who was allegedly exposing himself.

Daniel Leonard, 41, of Red Deer, was charged Thursday with two counts of sexual assault, three counts of an indecent act and three counts of failing to comply with a probation order.

Police released a sketch and description of the person suspected of exposing himself on Oct. 18, after three incidents. Several incidents were also reported to police in November.

See related:

Women groped downtown

Red Deer RCMP charge man with sexual assault and other offences

“We were actively investigating the incidents we had on file and all of our officers were aware of the description. And the downtown unit as well (was) actively looking for this individual and responding to complaints as they came in,” said Red Deer RCMP Insp. Dean LaGrange on Thursday.

RCMP have not determined if all the alleged offences can be linked to Leonard; the investigation continues.

LaGrange said police were pleased to make an arrest.

“These are serious, traumatic incidents to the victims that it happens to.”

On Wednesday, a 33-year-old woman who spoke to the Advocate said she was assaulted a week ago at lunchtime when she was outside her vehicle at a downtown parking lot.

The victim suggested more could have been done to alert the public to the apparent danger: “I don’t think that’s really fair for people to be walking around their city and not being told this was a problem. I would have liked to have known that.”

A man came up behind her, stuck his hand up her skirt and grabbed her crotch, then ran away. She suspected it was the same man police were looking for.

“Look what happened with this woman. It’s noon. It’s not even dark. Something has to be done. We need prevention. We need to make sure people working in the downtown are safe, so let’s change the conversation,” said Patricia Arango, executive director of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre.

She said instead of putting the responsibility on would-be victims to be on alert, it’s time for perpetrators to take responsibility and show some respect.

“I’m happy the victims are coming out and reporting. But let’s do something, because we don’t want more victims. This is a very small community. We can make that happen,” Arango said.

The sexual assault support centre was at Red Deer College on Thursday with its iRespect campaign, which encourages respect for others and respect for yourself. A few people stopping by the booth had heard of the recent assaults in the downtown.

Student Danielle Broen was unaware on the incidents, but said there should be more crime prevention effort in the downtown. She already avoids going there at night, and even during the day, there are parts of downtown she will not go, she said.

“We need to be aware of what’s happening downtown so we can find solutions,” Broen said.

Amanda Gould, executive director of the Red Deer Downtown Business Association, said police appeared to work diligently to catch the suspect and she encouraged business owners to reach out when they see something happen.

“Our businesses are really the eyes and ears of the downtown and they can provide a great deal of intelligence to the RCMP and we encourage them to do that. The RCMP need as many eyes and ears as they can get,” Gould said.

LaGrange, who is head of the new downtown policing unit, said his officers are working to make a difference.

“I think a higher visibility presence in the core can do nothing but benefit the safety and enjoyment of the downtown core for everyone, as well as make it an uncomfortable environment for those looking to prey on others,” LaGrange said.

— With files from Mamta Lulla

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta adds 463 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

The central zone has 818 active cases

Red Deer teacher Janelle Van Tetering had her students write letters to attach to Blankets of Hope, which will be donated to the Mustard Seed. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer teacher, students donate ‘Blankets of Hope’ to those in need

A Red Deer teacher and her students are giving warm blankets and… Continue reading

RCMP have charged a Sylvan Lake man for allegedly defrauding five people of more than $100,000.
Advocate file photo
20-year-old woman killed in collision: Blackfalds RCMP

A 20-year-old woman was killed in a collision on Saturday, says Blackfalds… Continue reading

Patrick Malkin, co-owner of The Granary Kitchen, says he wants the provincial government to lift COVID-19 restrictions that shutdown in-person dining. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer restaurant owner ‘frustrated’ in-person dining restrictions are still in place

Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the restrictions won’t yet be eased this past Thursday

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Toronto Maple Leafs' Alexander Kerfoot, centre, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, right, as Noah Hanifin looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Morgan Reilly’s three assists lifts Maple Leafs to 3-2 win over Flames

Leafs 3 Flames 2 CALGARY — Morgan Reilly’s three assists helped the… Continue reading

Green Bay Packers' Adrian Amos (31) reacts after intercepting a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Evans during the second half of the NFC championship NFL football game in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Road warriors: Bucs win 31-26 at Green Bay, reach Super Bowl

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road… Continue reading

People arrive to be tested for COVID-19 at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, January 24, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Too soon to know if Canada’s COVID-19 case decline will continue, Tam says

MONTREAL — It’s still too soon to know whether the recent downward… Continue reading

Flowers are seen at the front door of Dr. Denis Vincent's dental practice in North Vancouver, B.C. on March 31, 2020, after he died of COVID-19. The British Columbia Dental Association has written a letter to Premier John Horgan urging him to include dentists in a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dentists, teachers disappointed they won’t be prioritized for vaccine in B.C.

VANCOUVER — Dentists and teachers are among the groups that are disappointed… Continue reading

Indiana Pacers guard Justin Holiday (8) shoots over Toronto Raptors forward DeAndre' Bembry (95) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Anunoby’s hot hand helps short-handed Raptors beat Pacers

Raptors 107 Pacers 102 INDIANAPOLIS — OG Anunoby scored a season-high 30… Continue reading

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

OTTAWA — Under fluorescent lights, Wendy Muckle surveys the supervised consumption site… Continue reading

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) headquarters Connaught Building is pictured in Ottawa on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Taxpayers’ watchdog sees complaints spike, raising worries about pandemic tax season

OTTAWA — Canada’s taxpayers’ ombudsperson says his office has seen a steep… Continue reading

Most Read