The Longueuil police have arrested a former Montreal police officer and minor league hockey coach suspected of sexually abusing several boys over the course of 25 years.
François Lamarre, 71, was arrested at his house in Greenfield Park Tuesday morning.
He faces charges of sexual assault, gross indecency, molestation and sexually touching a minor in connection with four complainants. The nine charges correspond with the Criminal Code in effect at the time.
The charges span the years from 1972 to 1997, and police say Lamarre repeatedly abused some of the complainants for several years.
They believe there are other possible victims who could be living across Canada and the United States.
“I’m numb right now. It’s been a long, hard battle,” one complainant, 57, told the Montreal Gazette after learning of the arrest. “It’s almost as if I’m watching a movie. I don’t feel proud, I don’t feel happy, I don’t feel excited. I just don’t know what to feel.”
The complainants in the case were between the ages of 9 and 16 at the time of the alleged acts. They were either coached by Lamarre in Greenfield Park or knew him as a neighbour, police say.
Lamarre coached minor league hockey in the area in the 1970s and 1980s. He was known in the local hockey scene as “Frank” and lived on Springfield and Campbell Sts.
According to the association of retired Montreal police officers, he worked for the police force from 1969 to 1994.
Lamarre is alleged to have begun abusing boys when he was 24 years old. At the time of the last charge, he was 49.
Police say they can’t know for sure if the alleged acts took place while Lamarre was on duty with the Montreal police force, but say each of the four complainants knew he was a police officer.
The Longueuil police department launched the investigation in February this year.
“His modus operandi was often different,” Longueuil police spokesperson Patrick Barrière said of Lamarre.
Some of the alleged crimes took place in Lamarre’s cars — he drove a Cadillac and a Ford truck but often changed cars — while others took place at the hockey arena and at Lamarre’s home, Barrière said.
“We know it’s not easy, but we hope other victims who stayed silent all these years can come forward, but also other witnesses,” Barrière said. “We want the victims to know they’re not alone and need to come forward. These are acts that, as a society, we cannot tolerate.”
After being arrested and questioned Tuesday, Lamarre was released after agreeing to follow conditions. He will be before the courts in mid-December.
In the meantime, he is barred from contacting any of the complainants in the case or owning any handguns. He is not to communicate with anyone under the age of 18, and is to stay away from parks, schools, arenas and community centres.
Anyone with information concerning Lamarre is asked to contact the Longueuil police department at (450) 463-7211. All information will be handled anonymously.