Annex residents on alert after string of sexual assaults
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 8:44AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 9, 2012 7:40PM EDT
Female residents are on alert, after three sexual assaults occurred in the city’s west end over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
At a news conference late Tuesday morning, Det. Sue Kernohan urged anyone with more information about the weekend assaults to contact police. Her appeal included any possible victims who have not come forward yet.
Each of the three assaults took place in the evening in the Bloor and Christie area, said Kernohan.
“All of the complainants were approached from behind and all three of the complainants were sexually assaulted,” she said. “Each time the suspect fled north from the area that these incidents occurred.”
The most recent attack took place just before midnight on Sunday, when a 23-year-old woman was reportedly attacked from behind as she was walking south on Grace Street, near Bloor.
Her assailant fled north on Grace Street, police said.
The suspect is described as a black man with a heavy build, between the ages of 23 and 25. Police said he was wearing a red t-shirt and long khaki shorts or pants.
Just a day before, two women reported being assaulted in separate incidents on Montrose Street, just north of College.
A 19-year-old woman reported being sexual assaulted at 10:55 p.m. The woman told police that she was approached from behind as she while walking on Montrose Street, from Harbord.
Five minutes later, a 29-year-old woman walking on the same street reported being approached.
The suspect in the first Saturday assault has been described as being a heavy man with a “medium black” complexion, between 20 and 30 years of age. The suspect in the second instance has been described as a stocky black man between 25 and 45, police said.
Area residents said they’re taking extra precautions in light of the assaults.
“It makes me scared, you know, you don’t want to leave your house past 10 o’clock,” said resident Allison Jane. “I’m just sort of avoiding going into that park after a certain time.”
“I have two daughters that walk around here and it’s not safe, but during the day it’s fine,” said resident Patricia Rozema, adding that she tells her daughters to stay aware of their surroundings while they’re out.
As many as 10 sexual assaults were reported around the same area over the summer, according to Toronto Police Services. The string of attacks prompted hundreds of community members to rally against the violence in a September march that began at Christie Pits park.
Det. Kernohan said it’s too early to tell whether any of the recent assaults are related to any attacks that took place in the summer.
“If we’re going to link them, we want to be sure, so we’re still working on that at this point,” she told reporters. “Right now, we’re not in a position to say that they are linked.”
Kernohan added that police are canvassing the neighbourhood for more information. The investigation continues.
Anyone with informationcan contact police at 416−808−7474 or to Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477).
With a report from CTV Toronto’s John Musselman