Investigators in the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division have charged a man in connection with a string of incidents – five assaults, a sexual assault and a suspicious circumstances call – that occurred Thursday, September 17 in Halifax.
Between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., Halifax Regional Police Patrol Officers responded to seven different incidents where a man was approaching women on the street in the south-end and west-end of Halifax. In five of the incidents, he grabbed at women while they were walking or jogging. In another, he touched a woman in a sexual manner over her clothing and attempted to force her into a nearby alley but she was able to fight him off. In the final incident, he made an obscene comment to a woman but didn’t touch her.
As officers were in the process of responding to a number of these incidents on the evening of September 17, police received calls at approximately 8:25 p.m. about a white man, who wasn’t wearing a shirt, running through backyards on Almon Street. Officers responded and located a man matching the general description of the suspect. Officers arrested 35-year-old Jean-Marie Richard Bertrand of no fixed address without incident in the area of Dublin and Almon Streets at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Investigators charged Bertrand on the evening of September 18 and he was remanded to the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility over the weekend. He’s scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court today charged with two counts of assault, four counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement in connection with six of the incidents; some of the incidents that were previously classified as assaults were determined to have sexual overtures so investigators laid sexual assault charges in three of the seven files. The incident involving suspicious circumstances where a man made obscene comments to a woman remains under investigation and has yet to result in charges.
Over the weekend, police received a call about suspicious circumstances where a man followed a 40-year-old woman to her car after she exited a building in the 900 block of Marginal Road just before midnight on September 16. He pressed himself against the window of her car but didn’t say anything to her or try to touch her. The man was described as white, 5’9”, 30-40 years of age and wearing baggy jeans. Investigators are exploring whether this incident may be connected to the others.
Police are continuing to ask anyone who may have been a victim of similar circumstances on September 16-17 or with information about these incidents to call police at 902-490-5016. Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers by calling toll-free 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submitting a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca or texting a tip - Tip 202 + your message to 274637.