All Posts Tagged With: "crime"
Instead of drinking, focus on the sex predators next door
Last month, hundreds paraded through the campus of the University of British Columbia to protest sexual violence, speciﬁcally six unsolved late-night outdoor attacks on female students since April. A hooded predator prowling dark grounds in search of coeds is a familiar conceit, one that informs how we think of sexual violence on campuses. Recently it was given airing in a Toronto Life story that claimed increased safety measures at Toronto’s York University, where women receive “rape whistles” at orientation, haven’t prevented campus grounds from being “a hunting ground for sexual predators.” (The school has taken legal action, claiming the article “presents a wholly distorted picture of women’s safety on the campus.”) Yet the UBC march to “Take Back the Night”—a rallying cry since the ’70s—bristled with more nuanced references to the reality of campus sexual assault, the vast majority of which are never reported nor easily framed in black-and-white terms. Signs held high connected the current attacks with entrenched “rape culture”—sexual violence being ignored, condoned and normalized, witnessed in the “rape chant” on the UBC campus in September. Other placards decried the RCMP reporting some UBC victims were wearing short skirts: “My little black dress does not mean yes,” read one.
UBC administration responded to concerns and fear with predictable reassurances. President Stephen Toope described the university as “one of the safest campuses in North America” and announced “unprecedented police and security measures to make sure students feel safe.”
Dean Mortensen left a pub in ’92 and was never seen again
Dean Mortensen grew up in Grande Cache, a coal-mining town four hours west of Edmonton. He played hockey every winter (defence) and graduated at the top of his class. In his first year at the University of Alberta, Mortensen lived at St. Joseph’s College, patrolling the blue line for the Rangers, the dorm’s intramural hockey team. A poster of his favourite player—Steve Yzerman, captain of the Detroit Red Wings—hung on his wall.
“He was a super-bright guy, and really responsible,” says Stephen Beland, a lifelong friend whose room was just down the hall. “He was the only guy in the whole dorm who made his bed every day.”
Mounties release sketch of man suspected in six assaults
VANCOUVER – Mounties have released a composite sketch of the man believed to be behind six sexual assaults since April at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus. The sketch shows a Caucasian man wearing a hooded sweater, with an olive or darker skin tone, a rounder chin, broad forehead, straight nose and short dark hair.
All six victims were walking alone late at night when they were jumped from behind and groped, and one was punched in the face.
Three of the attacks occurred in October, one was reported in late September and investigators announced last month that separate incidents in April and May are also connected.
UBC President Stephen Toope says the attacks are an extremely unusual occurrence on what he calls one of the safest campuses in North America.
Male attacked at Carleton University
Ottawa Police are looking for information after at “swarming” at Carleton University. They write: “On Saturday September 28, 2013, at approximately 1:10 am, a male victim, age 22, was leaving Oliver’s pub and was exiting the Unicentre building when he was accosted by three male suspects. The victim was forced to the ground and assaulted. The suspects attempted to obtain the victim’s phone but ultimately fled with only some keys. The victim sustained minor injuries that did not require medical attention.” The suspects are described as Middle Eastern males aged 18 to 25. One was 178 cm, unshaven and wearing brown hooded sweatshirt and dark pants. A second was 173 cm and wearing a blue hooded sweat shirt, white baseball cap and jeans. A third was 183 cm and wearing a black shirt and black baseball cap.
What happened to innocent until proven guilty?
Sam Tsega, 22, has been accused of a crime for more than three years but Carleton University, where he is a student and lacrosse player, only recently chose to suspend him from campus, classes and extra-curricular activities.
In a letter signed by the university’s president last week, Tsega was told he is banned from all activities and university grounds until he can provide satisfactory evidence he does not pose a threat to the safety of others. What type of evidence he might provide remains unclear.
The university is wrong to get involved in Tsega’s day-to-day life. Here’s why.
The shooting death of Ottawa man Michael Swan, 19, took place three years ago. Police said it was likely drug-related and arrested three men by tracking a cell phone stolen from Swan’s house. Tsega was originally accused of manslaughter, then second-degree murder, and, as of last week first-degree murder.
Nigerian students shouldn’t be sent back
Victoria Ordu and Ihouma Amadi, two students from Nigeria, have been seeking sanctuary in Regina churches since June 19th, 2012 to avoid deportation for violating their student visas.
Their situation shows how the federal government sees international students in Canada: as injections of money into the economy rather than as human beings worthy of respect.
The two came to study at the University of Regina in 2009 on full scholarships paid for by Nigeria. Ordu, a theatre arts major, and Amadi, an international studies major, were working legally on campus part-time until their problems began in 2011, when they took part-time work at Wal-Mart—Ordu with an agency doing demonstrations in the store, Amadi with the store itself. They were unaware their social insurance numbers allowed them to work only on campus. After two weeks at Wal-Mart, Ordu learned she was not allowed to work off campus and quit. Amadi says she found out when she was led out of the store in handcuffs.
Violent incident caught on surveillance video
Police in Windsor, Ont. have arrested two men after a violent robbery near the University of Windsor campus that was caught on surveillance video. Two men walked up to the victim, a 32-year-old student, around 2:05 a.m. on Aug. 1st and shouted, “What you got?,” before punching him repeatedly and stealing his backpack. Police released the video to local news organizations and received tips that led to one man’s arrest on Sunday while another turned himself in on Monday. The suspects are Windsor residents aged 19 and 24. Names have not yet been released.
“Peeping toms” reported on campuses from coast to coast
Police in Waterloo, Ont. arrested a 31-year-old non-student on Thursday and charged him with voyeurism after he was, “observed using a cell phone to take video of unsuspecting females as they used a staircase on the campus.”
It wasn’t an isolated incident at Waterloo, nor are “peeping toms” rare on Canadian campuses. During the last school year there were at least half-a-dozen media reports of men filming, photographing or otherwise spying on female students from New Brunswick to British Columbia.
Multiple students reported a man lurking in the women’s washroom at Toronto’s York University.
Hugh “Sandy” Thorburn taught at three Ontario universities
An Ontario university instructor was arrested for Internet luring, possessing child pornography and juvenile prostitution after he was found with a 17-year-old girl in a Barrie, Ont. hotel room last week.
Hugh “Sandy” Thorburn, 49, is accused of using aliases and websites called Model Mayhem, Model Desire and TalentsMLS.com to convince teenage girls pursuing modelling to meet with him at hotels where he would take their photos and offer money for sex, reports CityNews.
Thorburn taught music at Lakehead University’s Orillia, Ont. campus from 2008 to 2012 and also taught at the University of Toronto, reports Sun News. He taught at Conrad Grebel University College, an affiliate of the University of Waterloo, from 2005 to 2012, reports CBC News. Thorburn was starring in a Collingwood, Ont. production of Billy Bishop Goes to War before his arrest.
Anyone with information on Thorburn is asked to contact Ontario Provincial Police at 705-330-3240.
Thorburn’s charges for child pornography follow last week’s arrest of Benjamin Levin, a University of Toronto education professor who worked on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team.
The Toronto Star reported Tuesday that Levin, 61, was critical in an essay published in June in the Literary Review of Canada of criminal background checks meant to protect children from predators. Levin wrote that partnerships with community groups are made more difficult by rules, “such as the requirement that all adults working with students must undergo criminal record checks.”
Levin was arrested Monday for child pornography
A University of Toronto professor who once held the post of deputy education minister in Ontario and Manitoba was slapped with two new charges Wednesday in an ongoing child pornography investigation.
Benjamin Levin — who was also on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team as she took office earlier this year — now faces a total of seven charges.
The new charges were laid as the 61-year-old appeared in a Toronto court for a bail hearing Wednesday.
After a full day of arguments, Levin was granted bail, with a long list of conditions.
His lawyers have said Levin has his family’s support and plans to “vigorously” fight the allegations against him.
“The Crown’s position is that he should not have been released, he was released,” lawyer Clayton Ruby said outside the courthouse.
The latest charges against Levin are one count of possessing child pornography and one count of accessing child pornography.
“It’s a result of the evidence that was seized,” Det. Const. Janelle Blackadar told The Canadian Press.
“There was an initial forensics examination that was done on digital data.”
Levin was arrested on Monday and initially charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and one count each of making child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable offence and arrangement of a sexual offence against a child under 16.
The charge against Levin which deals with the making of child pornography is in relation to alleged “written texts,” said Blackadar.
“Written texts so to speak that is a graphic depiction of a sexual encounter between an adult and children,” she explained. “The graphic depiction of that is consistent with the criminal code definition of child pornography.”
The investigation which led to Levin’s arrest began in the middle of last year.
Officials in Toronto were then contacted by authorities in New Zealand and later police in London, Ont., Blackadar said.
“We decided we would link our evidence together,” she said. “We’re still gathering some intelligence.”
The Ontario government has confirmed that Levin served on the premier’s transition advisory team earlier this year, but hasn’t commented on the charges except to say that it takes allegations like those against Levin “extremely seriously.”
Levin was also recently involved with the Ontario government through contract research projects and guest speaking roles in his capacity as a professor — work that has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
From late 2004 to early 2007, Levin served under former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty as deputy minister of education.
He also served as Manitoba’s deputy minister of advanced education and deputy minister of education, training and youth between 1999 and 2002.
Most recently, he had been working as a professor and research chair in education and leadership at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Levin’s position as an academic involved in international projects raised concerns for police.
“Mr. Levin’s ability to travel and his frequency of travel, that always causes some concern for us,” said Blackadar.
“Being associated to education and so forth, one of the bigger priorities was did he have access to children? At this time it doesn’t appear that that is the case.”
Levin’s case returns to court Aug. 8.
‘Just because you regret a one night stand…’ say copycats
An edgy marketing campaign developed at the University of Alberta that aims to prevent sexual assault by focusing on changing the behaviour of perpetrators (usually men) rather than victims (usually women) has been co-opted by someone or some group trying to shift the blame back to women.
Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton, a coalition that fights rape, designed the “Don’t be that guy” social marketing campaign. Their materials have blunt messages like, “Just because she’s drunk doesn’t mean she wants to f**k,” and, “It’s not sex when she’s wasted. Sex with someone unable to consent = sexual assault.” They’re seen as so effective that they’ve been used in campaigns as far away as Australia.
The copycat posters say things like, “Just because you regret your life choices, doesn’t mean it’s rape. Don’t be that girl,” and, “Just because you regret a one-night stand, doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual. Don’t be that girl.” One shows a woman with a cocktail.
Lise Gotell, Chair of Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Alberta and SAVE member, says the “upsetting” copycat posters showed up in downtown Edmonton and on campus this weekend.
Accused was on Premier Wynne’s transition team
A former Ontario deputy education minister, who was also on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team, was charged with child pornography offences on Monday.
Benjamin Levin, 61, of Toronto, is facing five charges, including two counts of distributing child pornography and one count of making child pornography.
Levin, currently a professor at the University of Toronto, was arrested Monday after police executed a search warrant at his home following an online child exploitation investigation.
He is also charged with counselling to commit an indictable offence and arrangement of a sexual offence against a child under 16.
Accused headed Waterloo’s Tamil Students’ Association
NEW YORK, N.Y. – A Canadian man faces up to 15 years in prison after admitting to helping funnel sophisticated military technology to a terrorist group in Sri Lanka.
Suresh Sriskandarajah, 32, who earned university degrees in Waterloo, Ont., pleaded guilty Tuesday in Brooklyn, N.Y., to conspiring to provide material support to the Tamil Tigers.
Sriskandarajah and several co-conspirators — six of whom have already been convicted of terrorism offences — helped research and acquire aviation equipment, submarine and warship design software, night vision equipment and communications technology for the Tamil Tigers, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a news release announcing the plea.
Sriskandarajah used students to smuggle items in to Tamil Tiger-controlled territory in Sri Lanka between September 2004 and April 2006, the prosecutors said.
He graduated from the University of Waterloo with an electrical engineering degree a few months before he was arrested following a joint FBI-RCMP investigation. Sriskandarajah was the president of the Tamil Students’ Association at the university.
“The defendant helped the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), an organization that pioneered terrorist tactics and has killed numerous civilians in brutal terrorist attacks, obtain sophisticated military technology and equipment,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
Incidents may be related
RCMP at the University of British Columbia are warning students to be vigilant after two women say they were groped on campus. The latest incident occurred on May 19 at 2:50 a.m. on Wesbrook Mall near Thunderbird Blvd. A 20-year-old says she was grabbed on the buttocks under her skirt.
“The woman said the suspect appeared to be a Middle Eastern-looking man, in his early to mid-20s, with a slim build, 5’8″ tall, dark brush cut hair and a stubble beard with an oval shaped face. He was wearing a gray hooded jacket, dark blue jeans and white runners,” said Sergeant Peter Thiessen of the University RCMP in a statement. He also told The Province the man was “Persian-looking.”
The other incident occurred on April 19 at 10:35 p.m. A 36-year-old says she was walking into a building on Larkin Dr. when a man lifted up her skirt and grabbed her buttocks. That man was described as of unknown race, 5’9″, wearing a dark top, dark pants and dark shoes with white trim.
Analyzing the many reports of sexual assaults on campus
I’ve covered student news for two years now. Time and again, I’ve seen headlines that looked like this one from yesterday’s Toronto Star: Police investigate alleged sex assault at York University.
It’s less common to see headlines referring to sexual assaults at other schools, so it’s easy to assume York has a worse sexual assault problem.
But this conclusion is probably wrong.
Journalist from England’s Sun newspaper testifies
The man accused of killing and dismembering a Chinese foreign student appeared to wipe away tears Thursday as more evidence against him was introduced at a preliminary hearing.
Luka Rocco Magnotta has been mainly impassive during the four days he’s spent in a courtroom, sitting with his arms folded and listening without emotion.
But on Thursday, he appeared to wipe away tears while a Montreal police investigator gave evidence.
Shackled and sitting in a fortified prisoner’s box in a high-security courtroom, Magnotta lifted his hand to his mouth during testimony and rubbed and wiped his eyes from under a pair of glasses.
Magnotta, 30, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying last May of Jun Lin, a Concordia University engineering student from China.
Those charged include UBC student
Stanley Cup rioters convicted for their part in a post-hockey rampage on Vancouver streets are continuing to flout the law, say city police.
Police allege as many as one-quarter of the 42 people they’ve been watching have breached their probation or recognizance orders.
Their contempt-of-court investigation involves 11 people and alleges they ignored court orders over conditions such as curfews, drinking alcohol, and entering Vancouver’s downtown core where they have been banned.
Police have released seven names of adults who have been charged for breaching their court-imposed conditions.
Those charged include Camille Cacnio, a university student who stole two pairs of men’s dress pants from Black & Lee the night of the riot, then posted a lengthy apology on her blog the next week.
A provincial court judge handed Cacnio a suspended sentence, probation and community work, saying the scathing campaign of online shaming that targeted her was more than enough to ensure she learned her lesson.
Police say four of the people being investigated for breaching conditions are youth and can’t be named
Supt. Dean Robinson said he’s disappointed the same people who showed disrespect for the community are now showing disrespect for the courts by violating their conditions.
What students are talking about today (March 12th)
1. The headliners of Montreal’s much-anticipated Osheaga Music and Arts festival in August will be the Cure and Mumford & Sons. If those two bands don’t impress you, at least a couple of these other acts probably will: Beach House, Diamond Rings, Azealia Banks, New Order, the Lumineers, Phoenix, Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Alt-J, Hot Chip, Tegan and Sara, Ellie Goulding, We Are Wolves, A Tribe Called Red and Wild Belle. That variety makes the $235 general admission pass look a lot more affordable. I highly recommend all students go to at least one big show at Parc Jean-Drapeau while they’re still young enough to get away with it. It’s a special place.
2. Some strange people in Toronto are paying $40 each to attend “cuddle parties,” a trend that has also been reported in Calgary. They’re just like they sound. Strangers get together in big groups and then cuddle, spoon and hold hands. Everyone wears pajamas and they all hang out together on pillows on the floor. Clothes stay on and it’s apparently non-sexual. Jessica Maxwell, a doctoral student at U of T who researches relationships, tells The Grid newspaper that cuddling stimulates production of the chemical oxytocin, a sort of love drug that relaxes us when it’s released.
What students are talking about today (January 11th)
1. The Waldorf, a two-year old arts venue in Vancouver’s east end, has been sold to developers. Artists are, unsurprisingly, enraged. Grimes was among those who played the tiki-themed multi-room venue. Her Tweet on Thursday captures the reaction to the closure: “wow vancouver is so f*d if they shut down the waldorf. f*k this city. you’ve destroyed nearly every piece of culture that you had.” Rhys Edwards, wrote this in a piece for The Ubyssey’s blog: “The Waldorf is one more victim in the amorphous onslaught of gentrification in a city that simply does not prioritize cultural activities that do not promote economic development.” Without the Waldorf, she says, Vancouver will be less weird.
2. Emma Teitel says she can’t do simple math and she’s blaming the pressure to perform, which in her case took the form of the “Mad Minute,” an exercise where students race against a clock to do as much arithmetic as possible. This created a fear of math and caused her to give up. She points out that Finnish students, who don’t face much pressure from teachers, perform best in the world.
Students divided over ideas like key cards and more policing
After five crimes on campus at York University last week—two armed robberies, an assault where a student was struck with a piece of metal, and two sexual assaults—students gathered outside of York’s Vari Hall on Wednesday afternoon to rally for improvements to safety at the university.
Fewer than 100 people attended, a number much lower than the more than 1,300 who had confirmed on Facebook that they would attend.
Kasra Amidi-Rad, one of the rally’s organizers, gave the opening speech. “During the past few weeks there have been incidents that have occurred in a very, very rapid pace and we would like to come up with a list of suggestions,” he said, adding, “we will present them to the president during the open forum tomorrow.”
The President’s Open Forum on Campus Safety, on Thursday at noon in Founders College, will allow students, faculty and staff to offer safety ideas to administration and the Toronto Police.