Are Canadian universities a playground for predators?

School’s in and the predators are out–at York, Carleton and Laurentian Universities in Ontario.

September 9, 2007
Two sex attacks at York U. Police say two suspects may be students as well

By
ROB LAMBERTI, SUN MEDIA

The new school year at York University is off to a violent start after two men sexually assaulted two women and tried to attack another at a campus residence.

Toronto sex crimes detectives said the duo, who may be students themselves, found “victims of opportunity” in their rampage early Friday at Vanier College’s dormitory, just hours after the first Thursday pub night in nearby York Lanes.

Six entries to campus buildings have so far been reported to police: Two women were sexually assaulted, the assailants attempted to sexually assault a third woman and the other three are considered as break-ins.

The men are described as being white and in their early 20s. One is over six feet with light-coloured hair and the other is about 5-foot-5 with short dark hair and a dark complexion.

Witnesses are asked to call 416-808-7474 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.

Det. Christine Long said two of the victims were treated at hospital and later released.
She said none of the women knew each other.

They were “victims of opportunity,” she said.

Long said police are reviewing surveillance and other forensic evidence. There were no signs of forced entry, she said.

“I feel both suspects were very comfortable with the environment, therefore they’re either part of the school or were part of the school,” she said.

But students don’t seem too worried or frightened by the attacks.

“I lock my door,” said first-year student Jennifer Johnson, of Keswick. “It’s like a house, I’m not going to let somebody just walk into my house.”

Another female resident said everyone is taking responsibility in tightening security at the highrise dorm which houses between 250 and 300 co-eds.

Gilary Massa, with the York Federation of Students, said a large number of campus alerts have been issued.

“I’m very pleased with how the university is handling (the incidents),” she said. “They’re taking the security measures they have to take.”

She said the attacks have shaken her.

“I spoke to my roommate and she came in from Vancouver and she was frightened and I am … in shock,” said the fourth-year student who described the campus as safe.

Parent Dave Lightfoot said he feels his son is safe living on campus and has faith in its security, although his wife Victoria urged her son to escort girlfriends to their residences after hours.

“Our dormatories are safe,” said York spokesman Alex Bilyk. Bilyk didn’t know how security was breached by the attackers.

“It’s regrettable that these two sex assaults happened. We try to ensure the safety of the community, (but) every community is vulnerable to a crime like this,” Bilyk said.

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Maritime Missy

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