Facebook comments could hinder sex assault investigation

The Windsor Police Service is worried social media may end up hindering a sexual assault investigation.
Makda Ghebreslassie reports on victims of alleged sexual assault. 2:26

The Windsor Police Service is worried social media may end up hindering a sexual assault investigation.

Police are still looking for a man accused of sexually assaulting two women in Windsor earlier this month after they accepted a ride from a stranger.

Police say the first assault took place 500 block of Goyeau Street. The second allegedly happened near Victoria Avenue and Wyandotte Street.

In both cases the two women were approached by a man in a minivan who offered them a ride. 

Some on social media are calling the alleged victims' actions into question.

They suggest the women should not have accepted a ride from a stranger.

"You think that by now, with all the crazy things happening in the world, people would learn to be more careful about trusting individuals they known nothing about," reads one comment posted on Facebook.

"I doubt this even happened," reads another.

Windsor police Sgt. Matthew D'asti is concerned about the comments.

He is worried other possible victims may be discouraged about coming forward.

"If there's additional victims out there, we encourage them to ignore that negativity. The Windsor Police services is here we support them we empathize with them, with what's happened, and if there's addition victims we definitely want them to come forward," D'asti said.

Patti Kelly, with the Windsor Police Victim Assistance Unit, is disturbed by the online comments.

"The victims are clearly not responsible for the crimes that have been committed against them," she said. "I think we need to really focus the blame on the perpetrator of the crime."

Kelly has been working with victims of sexual assault for decades. She said online comments similar to the ones posted in this case "re-victimize" the victims of crimes.

"I've dealt with many victims of sexual assault through the years. I know that the pain and suffering they go through after the fact and so you don't want to see that happening to anybody," she said.