Northwoods Inn & Suites manager John Pontes charged with 'extorting tenants for sexual favours'
74-year-old charged with three counts of sexual assault
The owner-manager of the Northwoods Inn & Suites in Saskatoon has been charged with three counts of sexual assault and two counts of uttering threats.
John Pontes, 74, appeared in provincial court Tuesday morning.
The Crown opposed his release. Pontes returns to court Wednesday.
According to court documents, the assaults are alleged to have taken place in Saskatoon between Jan. 5 and June 4 of this year.
The sister of one of the alleged victims told CBC that Pontes used his position of authority at the motel to extort sex from her sister, who was a tenant. Her sister has since left the motel.
In a news release, police said they began investigating the suspect in February of 2017 after allegations of sexual misconduct. Police allege their investigation found that the suspect was extorting tenants for sexual favours.
Pontes previously fined $45K
The Court of Queen's Bench had found that Pontes sexually harassed a female hotel clerk in 2009.
In a news release at the time, David Arnot, chief commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, said the case set a significant legal precedent.
"The judgment is financially notable as the damages provided by the Code far exceed usual damages for wrongful dismissal," he said. "This is a clear message that egregious human rights violations will not be tolerated in the workplace."
According to the judgment, an investigator from the commission said Pontes had broken the Human Rights Code four times before this.
In 2015, a Public Health investigation into living conditions at the motel displaced people — including Social Services clients — who were living at the hotel.
The investigation found that several suites at the motel were unfit for habitation and others were found to have hazardous conditions.