Arrest warrants issued for two Pan Am athletes

Lucas Piazon was on the Brazilian Pan-Am Games soccer team this summer. (Michael Probst/AP)

TORONTO — Two members of the Brazilian soccer team who competed in last summer’s Pan Am games are now wanted on sexual assault charges in the city that hosted them in July.

Toronto police announced Thursday that arrest warrants have been issued for the two men, who were in the city through most of the month taking part in the international compeitition.

Andrey Da Silva Ventura, 22, is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, while the warrant for 21-year-old Lucas Domingues Piazon applies only to Ontario.

Police Insp. Joanna Beaven-Desjardins said the two men are alleged to have sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman on July 25.

She said the victim and a friend encountered the two athletes at a popular downtown hotspot, after which the four returned to a private home.

Police allege the two men sexually assaulted the victim after she had fallen asleep, then later fled the scene.

Barely a day later, the suspects had accompanied their teammates back to Brazil.

Beaven-Desjardins said Ventura, who is currently still playing in Brazil, would have to go through a lengthy process to be returned to Canada to face charges since there is no extradition treaty with Brazil.

The rules are different for Piazon, who is currently playing for a British team but is only wanted on a provincial warrant.

"We can’t go through the extradition process, but when he does come to Ontario, he is arrestable," she told a news conference. "And as far as the eyes of the Toronto Police Service, they’re the same."

Crown prosecutors must determine the scope of the warrants that are issued, she said, declining to offer any further particulars of the case.

The soccer players are not the only Brazilian athletes accused of sex crimes while taking part in the Pan Am Games.

Police also have an active warrant out for Thye Mattos Ventura Bezerra, a 27-year-old water polo player accused of committing a similar offence on July 16.

Police allege Bezerra sexually assaulted a 22-year-old victim as she slept in the bedroom of her downtown apartment.

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