Toronto

Gang sex assault charges filed against owner, manager of Little Italy bar

A bar owner and bar manager are facing multiple gang sex assault charges after a 24-year-old woman was allegedly sexually assaulted and forcibly confined inside a Little Italy bar in December.

2 men facing multiple charges after 24-year-old woman allegedly sexually assaulted in December

Former College Street Bar owner Gavin MacMillan (left) and bar manager Enzo De Jesus Carrasco (right) are both facing multiple charges following an alleged sexual assault at the Little Italy bar in December 2016. (Toronto Police)

A Toronto bar owner and manager are now facing multiple gang sex assault charges after a 24-year-old woman was allegedly sexually assaulted and forcibly confined inside a Little Italy bar last December.

Toronto residents Gavin MacMillan, 41, and Enzo De Jesus Carrasco, 31, were first arrested and charged by 14 Division shortly after the alleged assault, which began on the evening of Dec. 14, 2016, and continued until the early morning hours of Dec. 15 at College Street Bar.

Both men were later released on bail, said Det. Marina Garland of Toronto police's sex crimes unit, which has taken over the investigation.

"After the original charges were laid, we received additional evidence and information," Garland said.

She said both men were arrested again on Monday. The pair appeared in court on Tuesday and both were again released on bail.

Neither man has a prior criminal record, according to a search performed by a court clerk. 

Bar owner, manager facing multiple charges

MacMillan, who Garland said owns College Street Bar, is now facing charges of forcible confinement, trafficking in schedule substance, failure to comply with recognizance, and four counts of gang sexual assault.

MacMillan is known in the bartending community as a "flair bartender," an entertainment-based style involving tricks with shakers and bottles.

Over the years, he's made numerous television appearances showcasing flair bartending, and designed a Canadian bartender training program called BartenderOne.

Carrasco, the bar manager, is facing charges of forcible confinement, trafficking in schedule substance, four counts of gang sexual assault, and three counts of sexual assault.

Attendees posted notes of support to sexual assault survivors at a December protest outside College Street Bar. (CBC News)

Police said the 24-year-old woman was allegedly sexually assaulted and forcibly confined in the bar and given illicit drugs as well as alcohol.

Garland said the woman is still in contact with police and is assisting the investigation. She wouldn't comment on whether anyone else was involved in the alleged incident.

Alleged assault prompted outcry

The alleged sexual assault has prompted public outcry from activist groups throughout the past month.

In late December, attendees at a protest held at College Street Bar by the Sexual Assault Action Coalition, or SAAC, posted notes of support to sexual assault survivors.

More than 1,600 people have also signed a petition launched by the group to shut the bar down.

Viktoria Belle, co-founder of the Sexual Assault Action Coalition, is a survivor of sexual assault herself. (CBC News)

On a broader scale, SAAC is developing training programs for the employees and bar owners on protocols and practices that create safe spaces.

Called the Dandelion Project, the training programs align themselves with Bill 132, the province's Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, said co-founder Viktoria Belle.

"It's about collaborating with the staff themselves to find out what their issues are," said Belle.

"One bar might say, we really need a PSA in the bathroom to let women know they can come to the bar and ask for a yellow ticket, and a yellow ticket means get me out of here — and the staff know the protocol for that. Another bar might have a universal number to text."

The group is hoping to introduce the training programs to bars by the end of the summer and is currently applying for grant money to get the project off the ground, with the eventual goal of producing a training manual for use by establishments across North America.

"The service industry needs it," Belle said.

The provincial government funded two training projects that are being developed to help staff in the restaurant and hospitality industry to intervene if they see others employees or customers become targets of sexual assault or harassed, according to a ministry spokeswoman.

The training guidelines are being developed by the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association and Tourism HR Canada.

It's unclear when staff could actually sign up for training.

With files from Chris Glover and Laura Fraser

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