Police look for 3 men after York student assaulted
Published Saturday, April 9, 2011 8:49PM EDT
Toronto police are asking for assistance in locating three suspects after a woman was assaulted at a York University bar on Tuesday.
Valerie Bustros, 24, said that when she went into the washroom at the university's Absinthe Pub, a man swore at her.
When she came outside of the washroom, more words were exchanged before she was jumped, Bustros said.
CTV's Tamara Cherry reported that Bustros did not know if she was attacked because she's a woman, because she's a lesbian or because a few men were looking for a fight.
"A gentleman opens the door and he says, ‘hey, this is a ladies room.' And I say, ‘dude, I'm not a guy, I'm just a lesbian, leave me alone," said Bustros.
"I just remember I was telling him over and over again that I was a girl and it didn't seem to sink in."
Bustros didn't have much to say to the men who attacked her.
"Yeah I'm mad at them, I'm angry but I also feel sorry for them. Clearly they're not educated enough," she said.
But Bustros hopes something comes out of the beating she took.
"Getting jumped for using the bathroom, yeah it sucks, and hopefully one day we won't have to get jumped for that."
York University president Mamdouh Shoukri released a statement saying he was deeply disturbed to hear about the assault.
"I can assure you that we will not tolerate any actions or forms of speech that advocate violence or hatred," he said.
Shoukri said that in a university as large and diverse as York, it's essential to respect the different beliefs held by staff and students.
"Our responsibility is to embrace our shared differences -- be it sexual orientation, race, faith, age or gender -- and to condemn those who deny our members their fundamental rights," he said.
Alastair Woods, a representative of the Trans Bisexual Lesbian Gays Allies at York, believes the incident was motivated by homophobia.
"While obviously I welcome all the physical improvements to our school to make it safer, none of that could have stopped what happened to Valerie. It was obviously motivated by homophobia and something that needs to be tackled ahead of time, instead of retroactively," he said.
Bustros said the solution to getting along is simple: "We're all different and let's just live and let live, let's all try to get along."
Toronto police have released descriptions of the suspects.
The first suspect is between 20 and 30 years of age, stands about 5'4" tall, weighs 140 pounds and has brown skin and black hair. He was last seen wearing a black jacket and blue jeans.
The second suspect is also between 20 and 30 years of age with a thin build and has brown skin, brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a black coat and dark jeans.
The third suspect is between 20 and 30, about 6" tall and 160 pounds, with brown skin and hair. He was last seen wearing dark jeans.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact investigators at 416−808−3100 or Crime Stoppers at 416−222−TIPS.