Volume 93, Issue 76

Tuesday, February 15, 2000


Students hop on bus once again

Highest voter turnout in years

Guelph hit with series of sexual assaults

Investigation of Ottawa prof delayed

Play hopes to raise awareness

Fantino's remarks cause controversy

Campus on alert for suspicious activity


Caught on campus

Guelph hit with series of sexual assaults

By Rachel De Lima
Gazette Writer

A series of sexual assaults has Guelph citizens locking their doors a little more diligently.

Three incidents spanning the last eight months, with the most recent occurring Feb. 3, are being investigated, said Sgt. Russ Malcomson with the Guelph Police Services. "Since the attacks have all occurred at night, there is little to go on in the way of a description [of the suspect]," he said.

Malcomson confirmed DNA evidence linked all three reported attacks to a single perpetrator. "There are two serial predators currently in Guelph. The suspect involved in the most recent incidents is centred in the West end, while another is active in the northeast section of the city."

Malcomson added the second predator seemed to pursue only elderly women and posed little threat to university students. Despite this fact, he warned that students should not let their guard down.

In two of the three reported intrusions in the West end, Malcomson said a sexual assault had taken place. The point of entry in each location was an unsecured basement or upper storey window, he said.

Educating students on personal safety has now become the main concern of both the Guelph police and the University of Guelph. "The attacks haven't taken place on campus, but having the students be aware and reporting anything suspicious is essential," said Laurie Hunt, media relations officer at U of G.

She said students were encouraged to attend community meetings facilitated by police to educate themselves on the situation. "We're letting the students know that there have been incidents and as many details about the suspect as possible," she said.

Ashley Ogden, a second-year marketing student at U of G, said media coverage of the investigation was the main reason most female students were being more cautious. "My friends and I look out for each other more now, nobody walks home alone," she said.

Jen Ayling, a second-year arts student, said she knew about the situation, but was not fully satisfied with the university's response. "Posters aren't raising enough concern," she said. "More police should be patrolling the streets."

Although no students have formally approached the Central Students' Association at U of G, Kyle Patton, a spokesperson for the CSA, said the topic is slated for discussion at their next Board meeting. He added the main focus would be student awareness and campus safety.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000