A former beneficiary in the Montérégie region confessed this morning to having filmed himself sexually assaulting 15 vulnerable patients in the course of his duties and to having spied on several others.
Almost three years to the day after his arrest, André Tougas admitted his wrongs at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu courthouse.
By videoconference from Sorel prison, he pleaded guilty to counts of sexual assault, possession of child pornography and voyeurism involving a total of 55 victims.
Despite the efforts of investigators, unfortunately not all of them have been identified to date.
The crimes were committed as part of his duties as beneficiary attendant at the Haut-Richelieu hospital, between 2011 and 2017.
Tougas worked mainly in the institution’s psychiatry department, with patients under sedation or struggling with various cognitive problems.
Forgotten USB key
The odious gestures of the one who will be 57 years old in two weeks were brought to light thanks to a couple from Center-du-Québec who bought him a used snowmobile coat, through Facebook.
In one of the pockets, the spouses found a USB drive containing horrifying photos and videos, showing the assailant in action. They immediately handed her over to the authorities.
Scabrous new details about the circumstances of the crimes were revealed during this morning’s hearing.
According to the agreed summary of facts presented to the court, including The newspaper obtained a copy, Tougas sexually assaulted 15 women by touching their breasts and private parts while they were asleep or on heavy medication.
In two specific cases, the 50-year-old made even more intrusive gestures, the details of which we will not tell.
He also masturbated by rubbing on the victims’ hands and feet.
The attacker also seems to have a certain fascination for this part of the body, since thousands of foot pictures have been discovered in his electronic devices.
On the USB key, the investigators also found images of 47 nude patients, lying in their hospital beds.
The technological medium also contained numerous files of child pornography from the web.
Detained since his arrest, Tougas will still have to wait behind bars before knowing his sentence.
Me Nicolas Rochon, of the Crown, and Me Jean-Pierre Robillard, of the defense, this morning asked Judge Éric Simard that reports be produced by a probation officer to find out more about the attacker before suggesting a sentence.