The police may not have named him as a suspect, but simply naming Steven Laurette has made him a person of interest to those following the story of missing teenager Madison Roy-Boudreau.
On Thursday, Bathurst police Chief Stéphane Roy mentioned Laurette's court appearance in the timeline of their investigation, but he declined to answer any questions that would connect Laurette to Madison.
"I can tell you that he's charged for failing to comply with the conditions of a court undertaking, and I cannot comment on whether or not it's in connection to Madison," Roy said during the live-streamed news conference.
When asked why Laurette made it into the timeline, Roy said "because the public knows that he's been arrested and they had questions about why he was arrested in the same time period."
The timing — and especially the nature — of the charges against Laurette are concerning to members of the community.
On May 14, he appeared in court and was charged with failing to abide by a court undertaking between May 10 and 11 in Bathurst. He's accused of breaching the condition that he not be in the presence of females under the age of 18 unless he is accompanied by someone over 18 who is "aware of the present investigation."
That present investigation involves sexual assault allegations against a complainant under the age of 16.
According to court records, Laurette was charged in September 2019 with sexual assault and sexual interference. The latter offence, according to the Criminal Code, applies to, "Every person who, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years."
The Crown opted to proceed with the indictable section, which means it's punishable by a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. The summary offence carries a maximum of less than two years.
The incident is alleged to have occurred between Dec. 1, 2018, and March 12, 2019, at or near Petit-Rocher.
A preliminary inquiry has been scheduled in that case on Aug. 17.
But so far, police have not connected Laurette to Madison's disappearance. Roy was very careful with the wording of his responses to media inquiries during Thursday's news conference.
He said he didn't want to release any information that may become part of "a criminal proceeding, this for fear of jeopardizing or compromising the integrity of the investigation."
Madison was last seen getting into a grey Ford Ranger pickup truck on May 11.
By the next day, police had located the vehicle and kept it under surveillance until May 13, when the driver was arrested. Police have not named that person.
Searchers also spent several days at a quarry near where the truck was believed to have been seen after Madison's disappearance.
On May 16, based on information received, police searched a house and property in the LSD of South Tetagouche, west of Bathurst.
Roy asked anyone whose vehicle has a video camera and who happened to be driving around Bathurst between 7 and 11 a.m. on May 11, to contact them.
Madison is five foot four inches tall and weighs 119 pounds. She has brown eyes and medium-length brown hair. She was last seen wearing a grey sweater, camouflage pants and silver shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bathurst Police Force at 506-548-0420 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.