A man who allegedly pretended to be a member of the Catholic clergy was re-arrested for sexual assault-related offences against children, after more victims came forward.
Justin Georges Stephen Coulombe, 33, was arrested on Thursday in Edmonton, just one week after being arrested for eight other offences. Alberta’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit said additional victims came forward after police issued a statement on Coulombe’s arrest.
Alberta’s Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) said Coulombe is now facing four counts of sexual interference and one count of invitation to sexual touching after two more victims came forward with information. Investigators interviewed the victims about the alleged events that took place several years ago, according to Brian Cross, a detective with ALERT.
“They were interviewed and deemed to be inappropriate sexual relations with minors,” said Cross.
Coulombe is facing eight other charges from his July 27 arrest, including luring to commit making child pornography, possession of child pornography and extortion.
In a statement Tuesday, investigators said they seized multiple electronic devices from Coulombe’s home. Preliminary forensic work on the devices revealed child pornography, according to investigators.
The investigation originally began after the mother of a victim came to police with information about sexually graphic messages that were exchanged online, according to investigators.
According to police, Coulombe presented himself as a member of the Catholic clergy but did not actually have any affiliation with the church. Investigators said there was no evidence to suggest that victims were allegedly lured while he posed as a priest.
Lorraine Turchansky, with the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, confirmed to CTV Vancouver that there was no record of Coulombe in the church, adding that very careful records are kept.
“He has never been ordained as a priest in the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton or any archdiocese in Canada or the U.S.,” Turchansky told CTV Vancouver.
According to police, Coulombe had lived in Langley, B.C. until earlier this year, but the new charges are related to alleged offences that happened in Edmonton.
Coulombe had been out on bail and living under several court-set conditions. He remains in custody at this time with a new bail hearing set for next week.
None of the allegations against Coulombe have been proven in court.
With files from CTV Edmonton and CTV Vancouver
A former Langley resident who posed as a member of the Catholic clergy has been charged with additional sex-related offences.
Justin Georges Stephen Coulombe, 33, was re-arrested Thursday, Aug. 3, by Alberta’s Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit with assistance from the Edmonton Police Service.
A police statement said the arrest came after two more victims were identified and interviewed.
The additional charges laid against Coulombe include four counts of sexual interference and one count of invitation to sexual touching.
Since ALERT’s original release about Coulombe was issued on Aug. 1, the ICE Unit said it has had numerous tips from the public forwarded to them from local police and Crime Stoppers.
As with the previous cases, ICE said it has no evidence in these new cases to suggest victims were lured while Coulombe was posing as a Catholic priest.
“We would continue to encourage anyone with any information — no matter how old it is — to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers,” says Det. Brian Cross of the ICE Unit.
“Regardless of how much time has passed, that information is still very important to our investigation.”
Tips can also be submitted online at www.cybertip.ca.
Coulombe will remain in custody until a new bail hearing, which is scheduled for next week.
CTV News reported the new counts are in connection with alleged offences in Edmonton.
A person who lived next to Coulombe told CTV News that he’d told them he was a monsignor in a church, a claim that upset church officials.
“Our priests are good and faithful men. This kind of thing tarnishes their reputation,” said Lorraine Turchansky of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton. Turchansky confirmed earlier this week that there was no record of Coulombe having been ordained.
Coulombe moved from Langley to Edmonton at the beginning of 2017. Investigators believe there may be more victims in B.C.
Police said they have seized multiple electronic devices from the home. Preliminary forensic work revealed the devices contained child pornography, investigators said.
The investigation began after one of the alleged victim’s mother’s came to police.
“The investigation began after the mother of one of the alleged victims came forward to police with information about sexually graphic messages that had been exchanged online for several months,” the statement said.
ICE alleges that the relationship with the boy then became sexual, while the offences against the second teenage boy were solely committed online.
– with files from CTV News