Man accused of sexually assaulting 15-year-old Lethbridge girl appears in court
A man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in a random attack in her Lethbridge home appeared in court on Tuesday.
Darral Gerard Courtoreille, 59, is facing several charges including sexual assault and sexual interference.
In a news release, the Lethbridge Police Service said the 15-year-old victim was sexually assaulted in her bedroom. Police believe a man broke into the girl’s home, found her asleep in her bedroom and “took steps” to prevent her from screaming and waking up the other members of her family.
“It’s horrific, I don’t think there’s any other way to describe it,” Staff Sgt. Scott Woods said at a Tuesday news conference.
“Things like that shouldn’t be happening,” he added. “There’s a reasonable expectation that we’re going to be safe in our residences.
“When something like this happens, it certainly makes you look at things a little bit differently.”
On Tuesday, Courtoreille appeared in Lethbridge Provincial Court via CCTV, at which time his case was adjourned until Nov. 22 to give him time to obtain a lawyer.
The accused and the victim are not known to each other, according to police.
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Global News has confirmed Courtoreille is a high-risk offender. In 2006, police alerted the public when he was moving to a new neighbourhood and said he had served time for sexual interference. According to police at the time, his victims were girls under the age of 14 and he was considered a significant risk to re-offend.
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Woods declined to comment on Courtoreille’s specific criminal history, suggesting he didn’t want to jeopardize the man’s right to a trial.
He did say Lethbridge has a high-risk offender unit to monitor those with the designation.
“The challenge with that is that the legal system and the jail system release offenders into our community daily. So what we have to do is, we have to look and assess who’s coming into our community and what risk they pose and target that group who we really want to monitor a little bit more closely.
“Some of these individuals are on the straight and narrow for an extended period of time but will then slip up – so it’s pretty tough to predict.”