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Police appeal for public’s help in ‘Woodland rapist’ attacks, say there may be more victims

Peel Regional Police are appealing for the public’s help in connection with historical sexual assault cases dating back decades, saying they believe there may be more victims. 

Earlier this month, a joint forces investigation dubbed “Project Woodland,” involving Peel police, Halton Regional Police and Waterloo Regional Police, led to the arrest of Richard Neil, 64, from B.C. Neil is facing 20 charges — including kidnapping and sexual assault with a weapon — in connection with three separate attacks on two boys and one girl between 1992 and 1995.

In a news release Friday, investigators said they believe there may be more victims. They also released a photo of Neil for the first time since his arrest. Police confirmed to CBC News the “historical” photo released Friday is from an Ontario driver’s licence issued in 1996.  

On Wednesday, the accused made a brief appearance in Brampton court from a holding cell. He is scheduled to return for a bail hearing next Tuesday.

WATCH | Accused, now 64, faces 20 charges, including kidnapping: 

Accused ‘woodland rapist’ appears in court 30 years after attacks

2 days ago

Duration 2:04

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details | A man charged with the notorious ‘woodland rapist’ attacks has appeared in court. Richard Neil maintains his innocence, and while the police haven’t disclosed how they found him, a CBC News investigation shows he has links to the southern Ontario region where the attacks occurred.

Investigators have not disclosed what led them to Neil, or in what city he’d been living. In a brief public statement, police only described him as a 64-year-old B.C. man. 

A charge sheet filed in Brampton court, however, lists Neil’s address as a condo in the North York area. Neil’s lawyer, Leo Adler, referred to his client as “a Toronto man.”

Adler told CBC News on Wednesday his client was “shocked” to learn of the allegations. He added that his client was “not guilty.”

There is a publication ban currently in place to protect the identity of the victims, police said. No additional information is being released at this time.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Peel police’s special victims unit at 905-453-2121, extension 3460.

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