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Christie Pits shocked by sexual assaults

November 5th, 2012 · No Comments

Residents try to move on

Police are investigating a total of 12 sexual assaults in the Christie Pits area. Photo by Andrew Russel.

By Andrew Russell

Residents of the Christie Pits area no longer have to look over their shoulders after police announced Monday Oct. 22 of the arrest of a 15-year-old male on 14 counts of Sexual Assault and two counts of Criminal Harassment in connection to a string of assaults that took place between August and October.

The most recent assaults took place over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Monica Gupta, chair of Friends of Christie Pits Park, said the area is shaken by the recent attacks.

“It’s very upsetting that it’s happening in our community. We shouldn’t have to afraid in our own community,” said Gupta. “It’s not reflective of this neighbourood.”

While residents are looking for answers, police are investigating the possible relationship between these and past attacks.

“Police are treating the first 10 incidents as being perpetrated by the same suspect,” said Const. Wendy Drummond. “ The potential for these recent assaults to be connected is there but more investigation is still needed.”

The attacks come just over a month after local residents held the ‘Action Against Recent Sexual Assaults’ rally to symbolically take back Christie Pits.

“Anything that’s being done to raise awareness on the street is something that’s very positive for the community and for police investigations,” said Const. Drummond. “These kinds of events can encourage people to come forward. Sexually assault is an underreported crime.”

On Saturday night Oct. 6, two separate women were assaulted in the span of a few minutes. The first woman, a 19-year-old walking from Harbord St. near College St. and Montrose Ave., was approached from behind by a man and sexually assaulted around 10:55 p.m. and fled north on Montrose.

Minutes later at around 11 p.m. he assaulted a 29-year-old woman walking south of Harbord along the same street and continued running north.

On Sunday, around 11:45 p.m., a 23-year-old woman was walking south on Grace St. from Bloor St. when a man approached her from behind and sexually assaulted her.

The suspect descriptions in all three cases vary slightly but the suspect is generally described as a black male, between 25 and 40 years old, with a stocky-to-heavy build and a height between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-10.

Monica Gupta hopes residents are not deterred by the recent attacks and continue to live their normal day-to-day lives.

“Don’t stop going out to bars, restaurants, and local businesses,” said Gupta. “It could be very detrimental to the community.”

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