Police have charged a 55-year-old man in connection with a string of alleged sexual assaults at a North York church. Officials with Toronto police say that the church, called Our Lady of Lourdes or Immaculate Conception, is located just outside of the city of Toronto. This week, police arrested Lin Dong on multiple sexual assault charges following a six-month investigation.
According to authorities, Dong allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl at the church in 2013. The child was visiting the church with her family. On Tuesday, police charged Dong with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.
The investigation continued in April when police discovered evidence of “an additional incident” at the church, adding that there may be a second victim.
The church has reportedly been running under investigation for several months, according to police. A spokesperson for the church told The Toronto Star that they were “very disappointed by this development.”
This is not the first time that Dong has been arrested. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to several charges, including theft of a vehicle, assault, and possession of stolen property. In September 2016, he was arrested for a bench warrant in relation to a separate theft case, but he was ultimately released without charge.
Please note, the circumstances that led to my escape…therefore I remain totally responsible for myself. In respect of my family, it is very sad to see them being exploited by the media. My wife is pregnant at this time and I’m very concerned for her safety and well-being…. I apologize to you all for the situation.
A recent statement on his Facebook page suggests that Dong may be suffering from mental illness and that his crimes are linked to the illness.
“I do not know what I have done wrong. However, I do know what I am NOT in the wrong for. I am part of a disease that destroys the mind and will destroy the soul. I have been in a drug and alcohol treatment program for over a year and a half. I do hope that as your friends and fans we can hope that people will support me through this very unfortunate situation,” he wrote in March.
Dong’s lawyer, Marvin Stuntz, said that his client will be pleading not guilty.
Read the full story at the Toronto Star.
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