Ottawa serial pants-puller faces new sex assault charges
Gavin Sean Griffiths, 28, arrested Saturday in connection to bike path sexual assaults
An Ottawa man previously convicted of pulling down women's pants faces new sexual assault charges for incidents on paths near the Rideau River.
Gavin Sean Griffiths, 28, was released from custody in March on three years of probation after serving his jail sentence in the serial pants-pulling case.
On Saturday, he was arrested and charged with three counts of sexual assault, two counts of mischief and one count of breach of probation for incidents that occurred on bike and walking paths near North River Road that morning.
The suspect was described to police as a white man in his 20s who was riding a bright yellow bicycle.
Griffiths on National Sex Offender Registry
In the spring of 2012, several women reported that a man approached them from behind and pulled down their pants. Griffiths pleaded guilty to nine counts of sexual assault, one count of mischief and one count of breach of conditions.
In May 2013, he was sentenced to 10 additional months in jail, after receiving credit for 13 months of time served. His name was also put on the National Sex Offender Registry for life.
Griffiths was arrested on Saturday for "similar crimes," police said. He remains in custody.
Court records detail that Griffiths was directed by his probation officer to seek treatment. His lawyer Peter Beach refused to comment on whether or not Griffiths received treatment.
Neighbours upset they weren't warned
Two women who live above Griffiths on Deschamps Avenue, a few blocks away from the Rideau River, said they should have been warned about Griffiths' conviction when he moved into the neighbourhood.
"Someone should tell us," said Krista Barratt, who lives above Griffiths' with her partner and 10-year-old daughter. "The police should warn the area that there's a sex offender living, not just in the area, but underneath you. There are women in this building. ... Someone should tell us."
While victims are notified when their offenders are released, police are prohibited by law from telling members of the public where registered sex offenders live.
Upon release from correctional facilities, offenders have seven days to tell police where they live, what their vehicles are and where they work. Officers then follow up to make sure the information is correct and to check up on the offenders, but the officers have to wear plainclothes and be discreet, said Staff Sgt. Dana Reynolds, who leads the Ottawa police high risk offender unit.
Yamikani Msosa, who works for the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa, said she believes the public should be notified.
"I think it's important for us to realize that sexual violence is rampant, it's everywhere in our communities, and that time and time again, survivors have said that we need to be consistently notified of when these things happen in our community so that we have the right to safety plan around incidents like this," she said.
Anyone with information about Griffiths' case is asked to call police at 613-236-1222 ext. 5944 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.