Man pleads guilty to York U sex assaults
Sandie Benitah, ctvtoronto.ca
Published Monday, January 18, 2010 6:18PM EST
A 27-year-old man who is involved with the city's Live Green campaign pleaded guilty Monday to sexually assaulting two York University students on campus in 2007.
The case against Daniel Katsnelson, also known as Daniel Kaye, was supposed to go to trial but the Thornhill, Ont. man decided to plead guilty.
In an agreed statement of facts that was read out in the courtroom, Katsnelson and his friend Justin Connort wandered the hallways of York's Vanier dormitory during frosh week.
The two were familiar with the campus as they had graduated from York in 2006.
Court heard that the men went to random rooms and tried to open the door. They found one door unlocked on the seventh floor, entered the room uninvited and woke up a sleeping 17 year old.
According to the statement of facts, Katsnelson and his friend engaged the girl in small talk before sexually assaulting her and taking pictures of the crime.
Katsnelson, who was crying in court as the statement of facts was read out, also admitted to having non-consensual sex with an 18-year-old student who was in another unlocked room.
Investigators eventually found Katsnelson's DNA on his victim and arrested him a short time later.
After his arrest, Katsnelson was placed under house arrest but the conditions of his bail allowed him to conduct business.
He changed his name to Daniel Kaye and started a company called Go Go Green which was later renamed as the Responsible Business Group in August 2008.
The business is registered to Katsnelson's mother Svetlana Fishbein at the family home in Thornhill, according to documents obtained by ctvtoronto.ca.
The Responsible Business Group created the Live Green Toronto Membership Card and in August 2009, partnered with the City of Toronto. The company announced the five-year partnership with the city on its blog on August 16, 2009.
"It was initially developed as a local savings card for environmentally and socially responsible businesses," Katsnelson said in a July 2009 podcast interview with the blog This is Toronto.
In the interview, Katsnelson is identified as the company's manager of business development.
A spokesperson for Toronto Mayor David Miller said the mayor had no idea that Kaye was in fact Katsnelson or had any inkling of the criminal charges.
On August 30, the mayor posted a picture with himself, Katsnelson (who by then was known as Daniel Kaye) and an RBG associate on his Twitter account.