Burnaby man charged with sexual assault after multiple alleged groping incidents
VANCOUVER -- A Burnaby man has been charged with four counts of sexual assault in connection to alleged groping incidents that took place in the city.
Mounties say the charges against 29-year-old Jorge Benjamin Bernal are the result of an investigation into a string of sex assaults that began in the spring and continued even after the suspect's initial arrest.
On April 12, officers responded to a call that a teen girl has been allegedly groped from behind by a man on Hastings Street. She said the man had run up to her and grabbed her buttocks, then tried to engaged in conversation.
Mounties gathered surveillance footage from the area and zeroed in on clips they believed showed the man responsible for the incident.
Then, on May 8, Mounties got a very similar call. In that case, the teen victim said she had been groped from behind on Willingdon Avenue. When she tried to confront the man after he grabbed her buttocks, he fled the area.
Surveillance footage from that incident showed a man that appeared to be the same one involved in the April 12 incident, Mounties say.
Later that same month, the detachment's high risk offender unit took over the investigation and traced the suspect's movements to help him be identified. The suspect was arrested on Aug. 21 at a house and during a search of the residence, Mounties say they found clothing that matched what was seen on the surveillance footage.
Bernal was released on conditions, but allegedly committed two more offences in the fall, Mounties say.
First, on Sept. 20, he allegedly inappropriately touched a case worker assigned to him. Then on Nov. 6, he allegedly groped a community support worker who was helping him find accommodation.
"This was a traumatic experience for these victims and our high risk offender unit has been working on this investigation as a priority for a number of months," said Insp. Matt Toews, investigative services officer with Burnaby RCMP in a news release.
"These investigators left no stone unturned and their diligence has resulted in serious charges being laid against the suspect."
Bernal now faces four counts of sexual assault in connection to these reported incidents. He is out on bail right now and has to follow 22 conditions including not being in contact with anyone under the age of 16 and not travelling on a bus unless going to an approved meeting or appointment.
None of these charges against him have been proven in court and Bernal is set to appear on Jan. 15.