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Crown seeks dangerous offender status for man convicted of multiple assaults

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He went on a sexually motivated rampage that involved four separate attacks -- including the rape of an eight-year-old boy.

Now Manitoba justice officials say only the most severe sanction allowed by Canadian law can keep Peter Laporte from striking again.

The Crown argued Wednesday that a dangerous offender designation must be imposed on Laporte, along with the indefinite prison sentence it carries. Anything less would be putting public safety at risk, they said.

Defence lawyers are expected to make their arguments on Thursday, clearing the way for Justice Perry Schulman to give his decision.

The Crown noted on Wednesday there are currently 486 declared dangerous offenders in Canada. Of those, only 33 are in the community, including two in Manitoba. The rest remain behind bars with no guarantee of ever being freed.

Laporte, 37, was convicted of eight charges last year following a lengthy trial that included 65 witnesses. He has been deemed a high risk to re-offend with poor prospects of ever being rehabilitated. An extensive forensic report has been filed with the court which studies every aspect of his life and criminal history.

Laporte’s first crime in this case was a sexual assault on a 38-year-old woman at about 4 p.m. Dec. 15, 2007. He jumped her inside a Cumberland Avenue apartment block, claiming he had a knife and would stab her. Laporte took the woman into a stairwell, removed her clothing and raped and beat her before fleeing.

He was arrested the next month but was released from custody on Nov. 10, 2008, when the Crown stayed the charges because of problems with the case, including identification of him as the culprit. The charges were revived weeks later when Laporte struck again in three more attacks. But the victim of the 2007 attack was unable to testify because she is currently in a coma after a traffic accident.

On Nov. 23, 2008, Laporte followed a child into an apartment block on Balmoral Street, taking him into a stairwell and violently sexually assaulting him. The boy escaped and ran for help after someone came into the stairwell. The boy was taken to hospital and treated for serious injuries.

The attack was partially captured on surveillance tape. Laporte's mother identified him as the adult in the video, despite Laporte denying any involvement at trial. There was also DNA evidence against him. The victim, now 12, continues to suffer deep emotional scars, including suicidal thoughts, and "hates who he is," court was told.

About 6:45 p.m. the same day, Laporte went to a Cumberland Avenue apartment block and cornered a 23-year-old woman who was holding her two-year-old child in an elevator. He held a knife against her body and tried to pull the two victims into a stairwell once they exited. Another tenant interrupted the incident. Again there was video surveillance and Laporte was identified as the attacker.

The final incident happened around 9:30 p.m. that day when he attacked a 48-year-old woman who was walking to work from her Agnes Street home. Laporte offered her some alcohol and she went with him to a nearby residence on Furby Street, where he began attacking her and eventually forced sexual intercourse on her. A caretaker heard the woman's screams and rushed to help, but Laporte attacked him. The caretaker eventually overpowered Laporte, smashed his head on the ground and sat on him until police arrived. Laporte lashed out at the arresting officers, kicking and punching them while screaming he had HIV and was going to infect them.

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