After weeks on the run, suspect in London, Ont. human trafficking investigation arrested

The front of London Police headquarters. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

A suspect who had been on the lam for more than a month in a human trafficking investigation has been taken into custody, London, Ont. police said Thursday.

The accused, Matthew Parris-Cassidy, 32, had been sought by police since mid-August on several charges in connection with the probe. Police say he was arrested without incident on Thursday and will appear in court on Friday.

Parris-Cassidy is among three men charged in connection with the investigation, which began in June after a Whitby woman came forward to London police and alleged being sexually trafficked in and outside of the city.

The 32-year-old and the two other accused, Justin Steven Adams, 35, also of London, and Jonathan Drummond, 37, of no fixed address, were jointly charged with six counts, including trafficking in persons by recruiting/exercising control, financial/material benefit/trafficking person over 18.

The trio are also accused of forcible confinement, extortion, material benefit from sexual services, and procuring/recruit person to provide sexual services, police said.

Each also faces additional, individual charges.

Read more: London, Ont. police continue search for 3rd accused in human trafficking investigation

The case dates back to May when police say the victim began talking with a man through social media and agreed to meet with him at a Scarborough shopping centre.

“After meeting, the man offered to escort the woman home. When the woman realized that they were not heading towards her home, the man showed her a gun,” police said in a media release in August.

“The male made threats towards the woman if she did not comply with his demands.”

Police allege that between June 5 and June 18, the victim was directed to attend various locations outside of London where she was sexually assaulted on multiple occasions. During this time, police say the man continued threatening her.

The victim was then brought to London on June 18 where she was forced to perform sexual acts for money in locations across the city, police allege.

According to investigators, it was during this time that she was introduced to two other men who sexually assaulted her and also forced her to perform sex acts for money.

The victim managed to escape from the men on June 26 and contacted police who began their investigation, police said.

Read more: Man charged after driver threatened with replica firearm, London, Ont. police say

Adams was already in custody when police announced the charges on Aug. 17. Drummond was arrested later that day following a tip from the public, however Parris-Cassidy remained at large with a warrant out for his arrest.

Police issued another appeal for information on his whereabouts earlier this month and noted his ties to the Greater Toronto Area.

Parris-Cassidy is scheduled to appear in court on Friday for the six charges laid jointly with the two other accused. He also faces additional charges of assault, assault with a weapon, sexual assault, robbery and uttering death threats, police say.

Adams is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 23, while Drummond is due back in court on Oct. 12.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

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