Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A Montreal police officer on trial for sexual assault denied groping the alleged victim and told a judge on Wednesday he was only trying to be benevolent by driving her back to her hotel in the dead of winter.

Montreal police officer Roger Frechette faces one count of sexual assault against a woman from Ontario who was visiting Montreal in February 2019. He was the first police officer to be charged following an independent investigation by Quebec’s police watchdog, the Bureau des enquetes independantes.

The alleged victim is a woman in her 40s whose identity is protected by a publication ban. She had come to Montreal with her boyfriend for a Valentine’s Day weekend when they were arrested downtown because they were arguing on the street after a night of drinking.

Story continues below advertisement

She testified earlier that Frechette made comments about her private parts when she was partially naked in her cell and later took her to her hotel room, where he allegedly groped her, licked her neck, grabbed her genital area and put her hand on his crotch.

Taking the stand in his own defence, Frechette denied anything happened. “None, no sexual attraction,” he insisted. He said he made no sexual comments toward the victim and by taking her to her hotel was just trying to help, as she had told him she had no money and didn’t know how to find her hotel.

“I was simply trying to help her,” Frechette, 56, told the trial being heard by Quebec court Judge Lori Renee Weitzman.

He testified that after keeping tabs on her during his shift, he decided to wait for her outside the police station in his car after his shift, which coincided with her being released by police at around 5:30 a.m.

Frechette said he felt responsible for the woman’s well-being after talking to her several times while she was in detention, and he had three hours to kill before a medical appointment that morning.

“I wanted to be sure she knew the route, she knew where to go,” Frechette testified. Noting the alleged victim didn’t have a jacket in -20C weather, he decided to give her a lift.

“It was a bit stupid. I shouldn’t have done it,” Frechette told the court.

Story continues below advertisement

He said he followed the woman into her hotel room because she said she wanted to make sure she could get into the building and told him she needed to talk. He said he later understood that to mean she was looking for money for a train ticket or a ride back to her home, which he refused.

Frechette testified that once he refused, it was the woman who groped him, and that when that happened, he pushed her away and left the hotel room as she stripped to take a shower. He said she told him to come back after his medical appointment.

He explained his frequent visits to her cell, which she called “creepy” in her testimony, were to keep her calm as she had been agitated, screaming and disrupting other detainees trying to sleep.

Under cross-examination, Frechette said it was the first time he’d gone to such lengths for someone in police cells. He told prosecutor Andree-Anne Tremblay it never crossed his mind to just give her directions to her hotel or money for the bus or a taxi.

Frechette, a 34-year veteran of the force, has been suspended without pay. His cross-examination continues Thursday.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies