York U under fire for not warning students of assault threat
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 7:51AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 10, 2012 7:23PM EDT
On the same day that two additional assault victims came forward, York University administration is coming under fire for not warning students and staff of a potential threat soon enough.
All five assaults occurred last week when a man allegedly approached women who were walking on, or near, campus. He allegedly spoke to them before groping them as they walked away.
While York University released an internal security bulletin Thursday, the university did not send out a mass notice until Monday, the same day a suspect in the case was arrested.
One student, who did not give her name, told CTV Toronto that she works on campus and refuses to walk anywhere alone.
“I know it is not safe and it is not York’s problem that there is weird, creepy people on campus. It is open to the public,” she said.
York University stepped up campus security following Thursday’s attacks.
Investigators told CTV Toronto that video surveillance from the school led to the arrest Monday.
One Tuesday, police issued a release saying that two other women had come forward, bringing the total to five.
Const. Wendy Drummond said there could be more victims and police are asking them to contact authorities.
Police said the three originally-reported assaults happened Thursday and Friday near Vari Hall, a central building on campus that contains lecture halls, student gathering space and staff offices.
A suspect was arrested and charged Monday evening.
Oshane Leach, 20, appeared in court Tuesday to face three counts of sexual assault, two counts of harassment and two counts of assault.
He was remanded in custody until Wednesday for a bail hearing.
In the most recently reported assaults, police said a 28-year-old woman was assaulted on Thursday around 3 p.m. as she was leaving Vari Hall.
In the other incident, police said a woman was followed and harassed on a number of occasions between June and July.
Police allege that on Friday, around 8 p.m., the suspect followed the same woman in the Sentinel Road and Finch Avenue West area, which is just south of York University, but not on university property.
Police said the accused then sexually assaulted the woman.
Of the other assaults that occurred on the York campus, the first assault happened Thursday around 3:30 p.m. when a 33-year-old-woman got off a TTC bus near Vari Hall.
Police said she was approached by the suspect, who struck up a conversation. The conversation ended and the woman walked away. The man followed and sexually assaulted her, police said.
Police said that around the same time on Thursday, a second woman got off a bus near Vari Hall.
Police said the 21-year-old woman was approached by two men this time. As in the first assault, the men began speaking to her before one sexually assaulted her.
On Friday, police said there was a third reported assault around 3 p.m., when a woman exiting Vari Hall was followed to the adjacent Accolade West building before a man began to speak to her. He then sexually assaulted her.
Police believe there may be more victims and are asking anyone with information to contact police at 416-808-7474 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).