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CanadaSherbrooke psychologist was arrested, then freed a month before latest alleged sexual assault

16:35  06 may  2019
16:35  06 may  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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Sherbrooke psychologist was arrested, then freed a month before latest alleged sexual assault © Radio-Canada Étienne Lavoie spoke to Radio-Canada in May 2015 about the closure of the rehabilitation centre he managed. That same year, he was caught doing drugs with clients, according to documents cited by the judge at his March 2019 bail hearing.

A Sherbrooke, Que., psychologist is alleged to have repeatedly sexually assaulted a woman last February while free on a promise to appear in court at a later date, a month after his arrest one month earlier on a string of related charges.

Étienne Lavoie was charged on Jan. 10 with assault, uttering death threats, voyeurism, pimping and drug trafficking.

Sherbrooke police wouldn't comment on why Lavoie was not held in detention at the time of his January arrest, given that he was still on probation after pleading guilty in February 2018 to making physical threats and using crack cocaine.

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A month after that arrest, Sherbrooke police arrested Lavoie once more — this time for the alleged assault of two other women who he also allegedly forced into prostitution.

One of those women is alleged to have been sexually assaulted with a weapon over the Valentine's Day weekend, at Lavoie's downtown office and at a cottage he rented in Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley.

Lavoie was denied bail on March 15, at a court hearing on new charges of armed sexual assault, assault, pimping and drug trafficking.

More charges pending

At that hearing, Quebec court Judge Conrad Chapdelaine reprimanded the 47-year-old for abusing his status as a psychologist by targeting "vulnerable" people and exploiting them "physically, mentally and sexually."

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"Using your profession, you even went beyond the intrinsic exploitation and violence in this type of crime," Chapdelaine can be heard saying in audio tapes of the proceedings obtained by CBC News.

At the March hearing, the prosecutor said Lavoie is expected to be formally charged in connection with his alleged dealings with six other women — bringing the total number alleged victims to nine. Those charges are expected to be laid at a court appearance Tuesday.

History of drug abuse

According to court documents, Lavoie's run-ins with police began in 2017, just nine months after he was accepted into the Order of Psychologists.

Chapdelaine alleged police found a crack cocaine pipe in Lavoie's car that March and a small quantity of crack cocaine during a routine road check a month later, in April.

He pleaded guilty to drug possession charges in February 2018 and was put on probation.

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Sherbrooke psychologist was arrested, then freed a month before latest alleged sexual assault © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Étienne Lavoie, who has been held without bail since his second arrest of 2019 in February, will be back in court on May 7 to face additional charges. (Étienne Lavoie/Facebook)

According to probation documents cited by the judge, Lavoie consumed crack cocaine almost daily while on probation.

"You're 47 years old, and you've been using drugs since the age of 17, with some longer periods of sobriety during that time," said Chapdelaine.

In 2015, while running the Maison ReNasci rehabilitation centre in East Angus, in the Eastern Townships, Lavoie was caught doing drugs with clients, the judge said, citing documents.

He was consequently fired.

Read more

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