Toronto police warn public about weekend sex assaults
Despite similarities to attacks in summer, no link confirmed for now
Three more sexual assaults have occurred in west-end neighbourhoods, each involving a male suspect approaching women from behind at night.
But despite the similarities to a series of prior attacks that occurred over the summer, Toronto police say they cannot yet confirm if they are linked to the same assailant.
Det. Sue Kernohan told reporters on Tuesday morning that police responded to reports of three almost identical sexual assaults on women walking in two west-end neighbourhoods over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Kernohan said there were two attacks on Montrose Avenue near College Street, both occurring between 10:50 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday.
A day later, a third attack occurred at 11:45 p.m. on Sunday on Grace Street near Bloor Street.
"All of the complainants were approached from behind, all three of the complainants were sexually assaulted and each time the suspect fled north from the area where these incidents occurred," Kernohan said.
Some area residents are taking precautions in the wake of the attacks.
"I'm just trying to be more aware, make sure that people know where I am, know when I’m going to get there," said a woman named Amanda who spoke to CBC News on Tuesday morning.
No confirmation of link to prior attacks
While the Thanksgiving weekend attacks have striking similarities to a series of attacks that occurred over the summer, Kernohan said police cannot be sure they are related.
"Right now we’re not in a position to say that they are linked," Kernohan said.
"But as you can tell from the geographic locations, they’re fairly close."
Suspect descriptions in last weekend's three assaults vary slightly. Based on the varying reports, the suspect is described as a black man, 23 to 45 years old, from five foot five inches tall to five foot eight, with a heavy build.
Like the recent attacks over the weekend, the summer attacks also involved a male suspect approaching women from behind and sexually assaulting them.
Over time, at least 10 women came forward to police to report attacks in both the Bloor Street and Christie Street area, as well as a neighbourhood closer to College Street and Spadina Avenue.
The proliferation of incidents prompted hundreds of people to take part in a rally in September to symbolically take back the area around Christie Pits Park.