An Ontario woman visiting Montreal last year said she was arrested and injured by police, and a few hours later was sexually assaulted by a plainclothes police officer in her hotel room.
The woman, whose identity is protected by the courts, said that Constable Roger Fréchette drove her from a police station to her hotel after her shift and followed her inside, the morning of February 19, 2019.
“It touched my private parts,” said the 41-year-old woman. He forced me to get my hands on his private parts. He kept repeating myself taking a shower. “
Mr. Fréchette, 55, was charged with one count of sexual assault following an investigation by the Office of Independent Investigations (BEI), responsible for monitoring the work of the police in Quebec.
An arrest warrant was issued on February 18, 2020, signed by Justice of the Peace Luis-Marian Lipoveanu. According to the records, Mr. Fréchette appeared on April 1, through counsel.
Esther Tremblay, BEI spokesperson, confirmed by email that the investigation into Mr. Fréchette was finished and that he was charged.
“This is the first Montreal police officer to be charged following an investigation by the BEI,” she said.
The Montreal police did not want to comment on the case of Mr. Fréchette. In an email response, the media relations department said that the police “could not comment on specific cases, nor confirm or deny that an investigation was under way concerning an individual”.
When asked if the public had a right to know if an officer accused of sexual assault was still on duty, the media relations team did not respond.
The Canadian Press, however, saw an email exchange between an EIB investigator and the alleged victim, in which the office said that Mr. Fréchette “has been suspended from his duties and has no access to weapons”.
The allegations against Mr. Fréchette have not been proven in court.
The Canadian Press contacted his lawyer, but received no immediate response.
Court documents indicate that Mr. Fréchette is scheduled to appear on July 6.
The woman visited Montreal in February 2019 with her boyfriend at the time, to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
During the night of February 18, the couple quarreled and four Montreal police arrived in two vehicles. She admits that she was belligerent and resisted the police. She said the police became aggressive with her, tackling her to the ground, injuring her face, head and shoulders.
She said she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to past abuse.
“It has become a case of either fighting or running away,” she said. You could say that I resisted the arrest, but I was afraid. “
The woman said her ex-boyfriend had a criminal record and was not supposed to drink, and the police arrested him.
She was taken to a downtown police station tied to a wheelchair, she said, and placed alone in a cell. She says that she urinated on her and that she had bruises following her arrest.
Already at the police station
Mr. Fréchette, she said, was not an officer present at the time of the arrest, but was at the police station. She alleged that he visited his cell several times and complimented him on his appearance.
“I said to him at one point, ‘What is so appealing to me?’ My clothes are torn. My hair was pulled out. My makeup is everywhere because I cry […] I’m like a caged animal. “
He would then have replied: “That’s what I like. That’s what I find attractive. “
She said she couldn’t believe what was going on.
Mr. Fréchette brought him jeans and a pink boxer. She said he watched her change. She realized that she did not know who the clothes belonged to and took them off while he continued to look at her, she said.
She alleged that he made comments about her genitals and expressed her desire to have sex.
The woman advises that at around 5 am, after several hours of detention, Mr. Fréchette took her out of her cell and left the station. She says she found herself outside, dressed inappropriately for the cold weather, and penniless.
Across the street, she said, a small car was flashing its headlights. She approached and saw Mr. Fréchette at the wheel. It was her personal vehicle, she said.
“He said, ‘I’m going to take you back to your hotel.’ I said, “OK.” I was desperate. “
She said he drove her to her hotel and followed her to her room.
“He tried to make me take a shower,” she said. He was licking me. He tried to sleep with me. “
She said she remembers placing his hand forcibly over his crotch, over his pants. He touched her body several times, she said.
“He kept repeating,” I have a family. I could be fired. ” I said, “So why are you here”? “
At no time were his advances welcome, she said, adding that she felt trapped and didn’t want to upset him.
“My brain just blocked everything that happened. I know he did things to me. He was licking my neck and feeling me. It was disgusting. “
However, she does not remember having sex with Mr. Fréchette.
She said after a while she started punching her own thighs and screaming. Shortly after, she said, he left.
Since the incident, the single mother has said she is afraid to leave her home.
“It shattered my whole life,” she said. She hopes her testimony can help other women who have had similar experiences.
” It was not easy [de raconter son histoire], she explained. But I had to regain my power. “
The Montreal police refused to comment on Constable Fréchette’s file. In an unsigned email response, the media relations department said that the police “could not comment on specific cases, nor confirm or deny that an investigation was under way concerning an individual”.
The police did not initially respond to a question about whether the public had the right to know if a police officer accused of sexual assault was still on duty.
Later in the day, the police media relations team sent another email, confirming that Constable Fréchette “is currently on pay suspension.”