Volume 94, Issue 19


PromiseKeepers meet with protest

Senate and BOG race heats up

Haskett denies Christian agenda

Sweatshop mandate hits hurdle

UPD warns of sexual deviant

Campus Briefs

Sexual predator at York U still at-large

Corroded Disorder

Sexual predator at York U still at-large

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

Police are on the hunt for a machete-wielding sexual predator who has already victimized five women at Toronto's York University.

Const. Deborah Abbot, of the Toronto Police Department's 31 Division, said an armed robbery and an attempted sexual assault occurred on a pathway just off the York campus on September 22nd.

She said the victim was confronted by a man wielding a machete and was asked to hand over her money, then ordered to enter the bushes. Abbot said the man was then distracted by a noise which caused him to flee from the scene on his bicycle.

"Five other sexual assaults have occurred in the same area since July 2nd," Abbot said. "They have involved women between the ages of 23 and 48 years old and all apparently of Asian descent."

She added all attacks have taken place during daylight hours, including the most recent attack occurring last Friday.

Sine Mackinnon, a spokesperson for York University, said the school is very concerned and working co-operatively with the Toronto police. "It's important for people to be informed," she said. "But not overtly alarmed."

Hasrat Gafoor, president of the York Federation of Students, said the federation has worked on building student awareness about the recent attacks through the media and other forms of communication. "This is a big city and we're an open campus," Gafoor said. "Things like this can happen."

Gafoor said a recommendation allowing the York student escort service to be available during the daylight hours has been made. As well, posters and bulletins have also been posted all over the York campus, he said.

"This situation is concerning to both our male and female students. People have late classes and have no choice but to be on campus at night."

Terry Wright, manager of crime prevention for York Campus Security, said security advisories have gone out to students, imploring them not to use low-traffic pathways around the campus.

He said he recommended areas of better lighting such as campus sidewalks. "If students see anything remotely suspicious, I urge them to report it immediately so we can act upon it," he said.

Wright said he thought the recent incidents of assault took people by surprise because of the daylight timing of the attacks. "During the daylight hours you are just as likely to be victimized," he said.

Wright said York does not have a history of either robberies or assaults. "You can count them on one hand," he said and stressed the importance of an informed community in the prevention of future assaults.

Sgt. Jim Muscat, a corporate communications officer for the Toronto Police Department, said the TPD's sexual assault squad has set up a task force to investigate the various assaults.

He said a campaign post has been set up on campus featuring officers from the 31 Division and members of the sexual assault squad.

Muscat said investigators have now linked seven distinct sexual assaults in the area and added they suspect one perpetrator is responsible for all of the crimes.

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