Gatineau Police arrest man for sex assault, urge other potential victims to come forward
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:17PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:32PM EDT
Gatineau Police have arrested a 41-year-old man on charges of sexually assaulting a teenage girl, luring her through an on-line chat room.
And they believe there may be more victims throughout Quebec and Ontario. Police are crediting this young woman with the courage to come forward years after, they say, the alleged assaults took place.
41-year-old Vincent Vachon was arrested last month in connection to this case though police believe there are many more victims out there.
Police are asking that the photo of Vincent Vachon be widely circulated through police departments and media outlets in both provinces. They believe more people, more young women - may have encountered Vachon over the years, perhaps initially in an on-line chat room.
That's how they allege Vachon connected with a young Gatineau girl nearly 10 years ago through a now defunct site called Outaouais Web. She would have been under 16 years old at the time and police say she told Vachon just that during their very first encounter on-line. He was 32 at the time and living in Toronto.
“So first meeting was 7 months after that first exchange,” says Andrée East with Gatineau Police, “It was here in Gatineau in a public place and in that first meeting was the first sexual assault.”
Police say it progressed to psychological blackmail; the victim kept silent about the abuse.
The relationship lasted for two years until the young woman broke it off in 2011. It would take another seven years though before she gained the courage to come forward to the police. Vachon was arrested last month in Gatineau where he now lives. He faces several charges including sexual assault and child luring.
Amina Doreh with the Sexual Assault Support Centre says it's highly likely there are more victims.
“It is rare for a predator to isolate one victim,” she says.
She credits this young woman for coming forward.
“It is very courageous of her to feel the need to not only speak truth to power,” says Doreh, “but to let other victims know she is courageous and wants to come out and hopefully other victims feel compelled to do the same.”
Police say they understand it can take years to gain the courage to come forward but they say even if the abuse happened a week ago or a decade ago, they are there to take the victim's complaint.