Sherbrooke psychologist charged with sex crimes, drug trafficking
Some victims were 'women who were seeking help,' says Sherbrooke police
A 47-year-old psychologist, Étienne Lavoie, appeared in court in Sherbrooke, Que., Thursday morning to face 14 charges, including pimping, armed sexual assault and drug trafficking.
Lavoie is alleged to have victimized at least three women recently and to have been trafficking drugs and hiring sex-trade workers since 2018.
Other allegations include the sexual assault of one woman last spring, pimping another woman over a period of two months and, last week, armed sexual assaults in Sherbrooke and in the nearby village of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley.
Sherbrooke police spokesperson Martin Carrier said police have been fielding calls all day since news broke of Lavoie's arrest.
Carrier said some of the alleged victims knew Lavoie through his work, and some of the alleged crimes took place at his office.
Carrier said some of the alleged victims were "women who were seeking help."
Crown objects to man's release
Lavoie remains detained, as the Crown objected to his release "to ensure the safety of victims and witnesses."
"My client wants to have his bail hearing as soon as possible," said defence lawyer Christian Raymond. "At this point, the evidence is not disclosed, but my client claims his innocence."
That bail hearing could take place as early as Friday.
Sherbrooke police investigators, who are working with the Quebec Order of Psychologists, say they were made aware of the allegations a few weeks ago.
Online profiles suggest Lavoie studied psychology at the Université de Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke, from 2002 to 2006. He worked as a counsellor for nearly four years for the City of Sherbrooke, and played a similar role for four years in Rimouski.
The online records say after his stint in Rimouski, he then returned to Sherbrooke and worked at the teaching hospital, the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke, before establishing a private practice in 2016.
Sherbrooke police are asking people who may have been victims to contact them at (819) 821-5555.
With files from Catou MacKinnon and La Presse Canadienne