Huu Nhut Le
Credits: POLICE PHOTO
WINNIPEG -- For the third time, an accused serial groper has been handed a taste of freedom.
Huu Nhut Le, 30, who allegedly targets teenage girls in the St. Vital district, was granted bail earlier this month. The release came after he was re-arrested in late June to face additional sex assault charges.
A victim's advocate said his re-release is a clear example of a "revolving door" justice system that ties up police time by repeatedly placing alleged offenders back in the community.
"We have an (alleged) serial bail breaker who, it seems to be in his DNA, that he thinks he can carry on this behaviour over and over," said Rosalind Prober, president of Beyond Borders, a group that fights against child exploitation.
"How many times do we carry this charade on before we look at the rights of the children he's allegedly victimizing?"
A publication ban prevents the QMI Agency from revealing details of the most recent hearing, the result of which essentially puts Le on house arrest. But it's the second time the man has been released on bail amidst allegations of sexual assault.
On June 8, officers arrested Le on Dakota Street, but released him on a promise to appear in court at a later date on three charges of sexual assaults, uttering threats and theft. At the time, Le agreed to abide by certain release conditions, including a restriction not to interact with anyone under 18 without another adult present.
Two days later, police say they spotted the man chatting to a pair of 13-year-old girls, in violation of those conditions, so he was put behind bars. A judge granted bail on June 13.
By June 22, Le was arrested again, facing new sexual assault charges.
He was held in custody until the Aug. 1 bail hearing, which had to be translated into Vietnamese so he could understand the proceedings.
At both bail hearings, the Crown opposed Le's release.
Prober said repeat offenders must be more closely analyzed and assessed for mental health issues before a release to ensure they are actually capable of understanding and abiding by bail conditions.
"Obviously for youth who are out and about in the summer, it's very problematic to have an individual like this to be wandering the streets," she said.
Judge Brian Corrin ordered Le to abide by a fairly stringent set of conditions. He's under an absolute curfew, or house arrest.
The conditions forbid Le from riding any city buses. He is also banished from St. Vital Centre and its premises, as well as within 50 metres of any bus stops in the area of the mall.
While he is restricted from going near playgrounds or schools, he is specifically forbidden to go within 200 metres of Glenlawn Collegiate and Dakota Collegiate.
- With files from Joyanne Pursaga