$50,000 reward offered to help police trace Quebec fugitive wanted on multiple sex crimes | Globalnews.ca

Warning: This story contains sensitive information some readers may find disturbing. 

Quebec provincial police are looking for a man who is suspected of sexually exploiting and assaulting multiple victims, and a $50,000 reward is being offered to anyone who helps authorities locate him.

Blake Charbonneau, 35, is from Laval, Que., and police say he is “extremely dangerous.” According to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), Charbonneau pimped his victims and committed sexual assaults at gunpoint.

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To date, authorities have four victims in the case, but Insp. Pierre Mathieu Vivier said earlier this week that police believe there are likely more.

The SQ’s anti-sexual exploitation task force has enlisted the case in the pan-Canadian BOLO program, which is a “most wanted list” that gets heavy media and social network coverage and digital displays and billboards (they will be up in Montreal, Laval, Terrebonne and Quebec City) alerting the public that police are searching for the suspect.

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“In addition to controlling his victims and forcing them into the sex trade, he violently and sexually assaulted several women that he met on social media platforms,” reads a statement from the organization on the case.

BOLO, which is funded by the Stéphane Crétier Foundation, offers a reward of $50,000 to anyone whose information helps police trace the fugitive.

“We act to amplify the wanted notices of police forces,” said Maxime Langlois, director of the BOLO program.

“Simply put, we make sure that these notices reach the citizens in the right place, at the right time, by using the right channels and giving [people] the right incentive. Essentially, it’s money. We are going to spend significant sums over the next few weeks to highlight this case,” Langlois said.

READ MORE: 30% of sex workers don’t call 911 because of fear of police: study

Police arrested Charbonneau on March 19, 2020, and he was due to appear in court on May 31, but didn’t show.

His arrest was initially connected with offences committed against one victim, and police didn’t see it necessary then to keep him behind bars until his court date, Vivier said.

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“There was nothing at the time that lead us to believe that Charbonneau would not face justice. It was only afterwards that the seriousness of the offences and the number of victims (three more came forward) were noted by our investigators. It was then that pan-Canadian warrants were issued for his arrest.”

The suspect is wanted for sexually exploiting his victims (pimping), life-threatening sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, sexual assault with the assistance of a third party and more.

Canada-wide warrants have been issued for the 35-year-old. The fugitive is five feet seven inches tall, has brown hair, blue eyes and has a small tattoo on his right shoulder. Police say he speaks French, English and Spanish.

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The $50,000 reward is available until July 12 and the BOLO program, which works in collaboration with Sun Youth, ensures that all information will be treated confidentially.

Police say anyone assisting Charbonneau in evading arrest may be considered an accessory after the fact and face charges.

BOLO is an acronym for the English expression “Be On the Look Out” and has been in operation since 2018. It has been used in 16 files to date, which have led to six arrests.

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Charbonneau’s case is the first time this program is being used in Quebec.

Anyone with any information on the suspect should contact Quebec provincial police at 1-800-659-4264, by email at cic@surete.qc.ca., or by calling 911.

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