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Corner Brook businessman allegedly coerced woman to have sexual relations with him

Roger Francis is seen in provincial court in Corner Brook on Thursday.
Roger Francis is seen in provincial court in Corner Brook on Thursday. - Diane Crocker

A Corner Brook businessman charged with sexual assault and extortion was released from custody late Thursday afternoon.

Roger Francis, 42, was arrested Wednesday following an investigation by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary that had been started on Monday.

He is an owner of Western Building Products Ltd.

Information filed with the Corner Brook provincial court alleges that Francis committed five offences involving the same woman from Jan. 8 to Oct. 17.

The extortion charge alleges he threatened the woman in order to induce her to have sexual relations with him to avoid having nude and/or sexual images of her made public.

He’s also charged with sending indecent messages to the woman via Facebook Messenger. He is alleged to have repeatedly communicated with her by means of telecommunication with the intent to harass her, and while knowing she was harassed engaged in repeated communication with her via Facebook Messenger.

Francis appeared briefly in provincial court Thursday morning and his matter was set over to the afternoon to give him time to make some phone calls necessary to meet the conditions of a proposed release plan.

When he returned to court, the Crown consented to his release on the condition he make a $10,000 cash deposit to the court.

Francis has to keep the peace and be of good behaviour is not allowed to have contact with his alleged victim. He is bound by a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

He is not permitted to possess a pager, smartphone or Blackberry or internet-enabled tablet or any similar mobile communication device. He may possess a flip phone that does not have internet access capability. He is also not allowed to access the internet.

Francis will be back in court on Nov. 27.

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