Suspected serial sex offender alleged to have struck again in Richmond

Leonardo Da Vancouver - now called Leonardo French - reportedly groped a young girl on a public transit bus

Richmond RCMP are asking for victims of a suspected serial sex offender to come forward after he allegedly struck again last week on a transit bus.

Police have appealed to possible victims of 74-year-old Leonardo B French, who, on May 15, reportedly groped a young girl on a bus in Richmond’s downtown core.

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Two good Samaritans — both young males — followed the suspect after he exited the bus. The Coast Mountain bus driver was also instrumental in assisting the victim till the police arrived.

Shortly before 6 p.m., Richmond Mounties found and arrested the suspect in the 5000 block of Granville Avenue, near Lynas Lane, where he was taken into custody without incident.

The victim, according to police, was shaken but physically unharmed.

Over the years, French, of Richmond, has used many aliases, such as Leonardo Da Vancouver and Victor Leonard Boudreau.

In 2003, the Richmond News reported how police appealed for more witnesses and victims of a 59-year-old Da Vancouver – as he was called then – after he was charged with sexually assaulting a teenaged girl aboard a transit bus heading from Vancouver to Richmond.

Police said at the time that Da Vancouver appeared to be preying on English-as-a-second-language students and people that look like immigrants because he believes they will be unlikely to come forward.

Later the same year, such was the concern of police when Da Vancouver was released pending his trial, the RCMP issued a warning to the public.

And that same month (November 2003) — because Da Vancouver’s charges were published in the local newspapers — he failed in a bid to buy into a family-oriented condo complex on Ackroyd Road, near Cooney Road, where he was renting, after members of the strata council became aware of the allegations.

This week, the BC Prosecution Service approved two charges against the now-named French: One count of sexual assault and one count of sexual touching of a person under sixteen years of age.

French has been in custody since his arrest and is awaiting his appearance in court on Tuesday, May 22.

Police say he is well known to them and is known to use public transit.

Richmond RCMP believe there may be additional victims, possibly using public transit who have not already contacted police.

If you believe that you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime involving French, contact Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212. Ask for the general investigative section and quote file 2018-14907.

 

 

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