A COVID-19 screening officer is facing charges after allegedly sexually assaulting and attempting to extort an Ontario woman.
According to the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS), the accused went to a residence in Oakville on February 18 to conduct a quarantine compliance check.
He allegedly told the victim that she was violating the quarantine act and demanded that she pay a fine in cash. When she declined, police say the man sexually assaulted her.
On February 23, officers with the service’s Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit arrested 27-year-old Hemant (full name, according to police) and charged him with sexual assault and extortion.
HRPS said Hemant was employed by a security company that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) hired to complete quarantine compliance checks. He has been suspended, police confirmed.
Hemant was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on March 23.
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Officers are concerned that there may be additional victims and are encouraging anyone who may have experienced something similar to contact their local police service. Tips can be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
“Screening Officers contracted by the Public Health Agency of Canada are not police officers and cannot issue an offence notice (ticket) or conduct an arrest,” police said.
“Immediate demand for payment of any kind should never be made in the course of a quarantine compliance check.”