New Brunswick

Moncton online 'sextortion' case delayed after change in lawyer

Jean-Michel Gouin and Ketiboua Kesse both appeared in Moncton provincial court on Wednesday, scheduled to enter pleas on a combined 21 charges. But a new lawyer and a lengthy disclosure by the Crown led to an adjournment.

Jean-Michel Gouin and Ketiboua Kesse will enter pleas in May

Jean-Michel Gouin
Jean-Michel Gouin, 28, leaves Moncton provincial court. He faces 21 charges related to alleged fraud and extortion. The alleged victims are Quebec residents. (Pascal Raiche-Nogue/Radio-Canada)

Two Moncton-area men will return to court in two months to enter pleas to charges tied to accusations they committed online sexual extortion.

Jean-Michel Gouin and Ketiboua Kesse both appeared in Moncton provincial court on Wednesday, scheduled to enter pleas on a combined 21 charges. But a new lawyer and a lengthy disclosure by the Crown led to an adjournment.

Gouin, 28, and Kesse, 27, are accused of sexually exploiting people online and threatening them into paying thousands of dollars.

The alleged victims include nine men and three women.

Gouin is accused on his own of 19 charges tied to forcing a dozen people to pay amounts that at times exceeded $5,000, in a series of incidents between May 1, 2022, and April 10, 2023.

Ketiboua Kesse
Ketiboua Kesse, 27, leaves Moncton provincial court on Wednesday. Kesse faces charges of possessing more than $5,000 obtained by crime and money laundering. (Pascal Raiche-Nogue/Radio-Canada)

He also faces a charge of breaching conditions of release by failing to notify a peace officer of a change of address, employment or occupation.

Gouin and Kesse are jointly charged with possession of property obtained by a crime and money laundering.

The two men appeared in court before Judge Paul Duffie on Wednesday.

RCMP said in a news release that all of the victims identified so far were from Quebec.

Defence lawyer Christian Libotte explained that he recently began representing Gouin and had received disclosure from the Crown at the start of March.

Libotte asked for a adjournment of two months to have time to review the information, which he said contains more than 1,400 pages of documents, three videos and bank records.

Defence lawyer Jules César, representing Kesse, said he did not object to the adjournment.

Crown prosecutor Guillaume Rigucci argued the case was starting to get delayed, noting the matter could take several weeks if it goes to trial.

Duffie granted the adjournment and rescheduled the pleas for May 22.

The pair was arrested by RCMP in the Moncton area on March 2, 2023, after receiving a tip from a police force in Quebec.

Police alleged three people were setting up a "network" aimed at sexually extorting youth in New Brunswick. The third person has not been charged.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandre Silberman

Video journalist

Alexandre Silberman is a video journalist with CBC News based in Moncton. He has previously worked at CBC Fredericton, Power & Politics, and Marketplace. You can reach him by email at: alexandre.silberman@cbc.ca