Edmonton man who posed as priest re-arrested after more victims come forward

WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton man facing child exploitation charges has been taken into custody again. As Julia Wong reports, Justin Coulombe now faces new charges and some fear there may be more victims.

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A 33-year-old man arrested for child exploitation earlier this week is facing new charges after two more victims came forward, police said.

Justin Georges Stephen Coulombe, who sometimes poses as a Catholic priest, was arrested and charged Tuesday with several charges, including sexual interference, sexual assault, luring to commit the making of child pornography, extortion and possession of child pornography, then released on bail.

Coulombe was arrested again on Thursday after two more victims were identified and interviewed, said a statement from ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit.

He faces four new charges of sexual interference and one of invitation to sexual touching.

Desmond Stover first met Coulombe 12 years ago. He said Coulombe was a friend of his roommate’s and moved in to their place for a few months. Everything about him seemed normal at first.

“Until I searched a jpeg image on my computer and I found all kinds of images of children,” he said. “I knew the other two people in my house extremely well and this didn’t occur until he had moved in.”

Stover said he told Coulombe to move out.

“I didn’t want that in my house, bottom line. I have a two-year-old daughter at the time – she’s 14 now – it appalled me this was somebody who had been in my house.”

Stover said he also called police but little was done.

In a statement, ALERT said, “We are aware of historic reports related to Mr. Coulombe. [Our] focus for this investigation is to ask people with a complaint or supporting information, including historic victims, to come forward ?with that information so that it can be investigated.”

“Twelve years – who knows how many children, between here and B.C. [it] literally made me sick to my stomach,” Stover said.

Coulombe’s name and photo have been posted on a number of anti-pedophile websites dating back several years, but ALERT said that isn’t enough to trigger a police investigation.

“We don’t monitor all communication on the Internet, until it’s related to an actual complaint that we can initiate an investigation on,” said Det. Brian Cross.

ALERT began its investigation in June after the mother of a teenage boy came forward with information about sexually graphic messages exchanged online. ALERT said the messages went on for several months and the relationship became sexual.

Police said offences involving a second teenage boy were committed online. Cross said both boys are under 16.

READ MORE: Edmonton man charged with child porn offences, extortion after mom of teen boy calls police 

ALERT said Coulombe “purports to be and identifies himself in public as a member of the Catholic clergy, but he has no affiliation with the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton or any other diocese in Canada or the United States.”

Lorraine Turchansky, with the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, said it is disturbing to think the suspect was posing as a member of the church.

“The man who has been charged in this incident has never studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s seminary here, he has never been ordained as a priest in the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton nor is he on any official list of priests in Canada or the United States. So clearly, he is an imposter,” she said.

ALERT said there is no evidence in these new cases to suggest victims were approached while the accused 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,” Det. Brian Cross said. “Regardless of how much time has passed, that information is still very important to our investigation.”

Tips can also be submitted online at http://www.cybertip.ca.

Columbe remains in custody and has a bail hearing scheduled for next week.

— With files from Caley Ramsay

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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