A Toronto imam faces 13 charges connected to alleged sex assaults that started when he came to Canada in 2008.
Last Wednesday, police arrested Mohammad Masroor, 48, and charged him with sex-related offences and threatening death for alleged incidents between Nov. 1, 2008, and July 28 of this year.
He remains in police custody, but officers declined to say when he was due in court because of a publication ban.
Friends told CityNews he has a wife and five children.
At a Wednesday news conference, Det. Const. Karen Armstrong said the charges are linked to five victims, both male and female. Over the course of a three-week investigation, police identified more potential victims and believe there may be others.
“[Masroor] is a person who is seen as a leader in the community and in a position of trust,” Armstrong said.
“We understand in sexual assault investigations there may be a reluctance to come forward and report the offences.
“The Toronto Police Service and our Victim Services unit are here to support the victims in this investigation and support any additional victims that may come forward.”
Masroor has taught at the Baitul Mukarram Islamic Society on Danforth Avenue and in Toronto homes.
Police say he travels extensively and has lived and worked in Florida, Michigan, his home country Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Europe and elsewhere.
Armstrong said police do not yet know of any charges laid outside of Toronto.
In the meantime, friends and students responded to the news with shock.
“Everybody likes him in this community, when I heard about this it really shocked me,” said Abdul Fattah Aboud, an imam at a nearby mosque. “I’m shocked.”
Shabin Choudhury’s son was one of Masroor’s students.
“He was a very good teacher, very good teacher,” he said. “And he’s a good imam.”
With files from CityNews reporter Melanie Ng
Anyone with information is asked to contact them at 416-808-4100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).