Ottawa Police have charged a 14-year-old boy with several serious offences related to two incidents at a west-end park and that has many residents shocked but breathing much easier.
“I feel safer,” said Thuy Cellah, a mother of three kids who was at Bellevue Manor Park on Caldwell Avenue Saturday while her children played.
One park goer, Naveline Makela is around the same age as the accused.
She was babysitting two girls, ages six and four, Saturday and said she’s glad to hear about the arrest.
“This neighbourhood is already known for not being safe,” she said.
“It’s scary, you know, sometimes you leave the children outside and you’re watching them from the window but sometimes you can look away for a second.”
But shock is also permeating the air.
“It’s awful,” said Molly Allen, who has four kids — two under the age of 10.
“I’m nervous.” She recently moved to the area and said she’s already thinking about moving again.
“I see a lot of kids who walk around without parents,” Allen said.
Not Marlene Champagne’s four children.
“They don’t go anywhere away from me,” she said.
“I feel sorry for what happened, but I don’t trust anybody.”
On April 25, an 11-year-old girl was playing in the park when she was lured into a wooded area by an unknown male and sexually assaulted.
The incident shocked the victim’s mother.
“The area I live in is bad. But I have been here 12 years and I have not heard of any kind of incident like that ever,” she told the Sun at the time.
Then on May 17 an 8-year-old girl was playing in the same park when a male attempted to lure her into a wooded area with the promise of ice cream.
An adult who overhead the exchange got involved and the suspect fled.
The suspect was arrested Saturday and charged with sexual interference, sexual assault, abduct a person under the age of 14 and attempt abduct a person under the age of 14.
His identity is protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
When asked if the young offender turned himself in, Ottawa Police had little to say.
“It was a combination of both investigative work and the teen turning himself in,“ Det. Const. Dave West told the Sun.
West said no other suspects are being questioned.
The suspect appears in court Sunday.