WESTPORT - A man who police say exposed himself to a hiker in a wooded area of Westport has turned himself into police.

Philip LaFond, 53, is being arraigned Monday in Fall River District Court.

Westport Police were called to the Brookside Conservation Trail off of American Legion Highway last Wednesday after a man told police another man, later identified as LaFond, had exposed himself to the victim and demanded sex from him. The victim tried to escape, but LaFond reportedly continued to follow him.

 

Lafond called Westport Police Friday night at around 8 p.m. He told police he had seen his photo on the news and knew police were looking for him. He told police he was in Blackstone Valley camping. Police attempted to gather additional information about his location and he disconnected the call. Later that same evening, police discovered a social media account with Lafond in one of the photos and a visible registration plate in the photo. That vehicle was registered to a female with the 436 Sanford Road address. Police checked that property and located the suspect’s vehicle.

Over the weekend, Westport Police learned that Lafond had been living at 436 Sanford Road in Westport for several months with his girlfriend. The property had been converted into three apartments with multiple entrance points and exits.

Lafond’s vehicle, an older model green Jeep Cherokee registered to him with an Acushnet address, was the subject of a BOLO broadcast to surrounding law enforcement agencies immediately after the assault at the Brookside Conservation Trail was reported to police.

Monday morning at approximately 4:40 a.m., the Westport Police executed a high-risk search warrant at the Sanford Road address, with the assistance of the SEMLEC/Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT/Special Weapons and Tactics Team.

During the execution of the search warrant tactical personnel, and a regional mobile Command Post were deployed in the area. Crisis Negotiators contacted the residents of that Sanford Road address and SWAT searched the home for Lafond. Crisis Negotiators contacted Lafond’s girlfriend who spoke with police. She told police neither Philip Lafond or herself were at the residence. She reiterated that they were camping and told negotiators she would turn Lafond over to police. Simultaneously, Acushnet Police went to his listed Acushnet address. Lafond’s family was cooperative and Lafond was not located there as well.

Tactical and Command Post Personnel remained in the area and within two hours Philip Lafond turned himself in to the Westport Police Department. He was booked on an arrest warrant for Assault to Rape, Open and Gross Lewdness, and Lewd and Lascivious Conduct.

Sanford Road in between Benoit Street and West Morency Streets was closed for approximately one hour and traffic was diverted.

Police say LaFond has an extensive violent history. In 1998, LaFond was convicted of robbing a bank in Cranston, Rhode Island, in 1997.