Toronto man arrested on sex abuse allegations from 7 years ago

TORONTO (AP) — A 22-year-old man has been arrested in connection with allegations that he sexually assaulted three girls over the course of three years at a Toronto church he visited.

Police say Ryan Bennett was arrested early Monday at his parents’ home in the city’s northwest end. He is facing several charges, including sexual assault and sexual interference.

The charges relate to incidents that allegedly occurred between 2013 and 2017 at the church Bennett attended.

The three victims, who are in their early to mid-teens, went to police in June and several forensic interviews were done at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Police say the girls were made available to watch Bennett in police custody.

“They saw him arrested for the first time in seven years and two of them had never seen their victim since they were nine years old,” Detective Adam Blackwell said.

It was unclear if Bennett has a lawyer.

Blackwell said Bennett remained in custody Tuesday. He said at this point police were looking for any additional possible victims.

Blackwell said police are unable to comment further on the investigation due to a publication ban.

The arrest comes after a CBC report in June, citing police and judicial documents, which said the girls had gone to police years ago but concluded the statute of limitations had expired.

This latest arrest was made on the anniversary of Bennett’s initial arrest in 2013. That time period makes the three alleged sexual assaults all prior to Bennett being charged with indecent assault in 2015. He pleaded guilty in June 2016 and was sentenced to two years less a day.

Blackwell said the 2017 allegations are likely related to information that came to light over the past four years and this had prompted renewed interest in the case.

“We are grateful for the community’s support for this investigation and the support from members of the media,” Blackwell said.

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