Yukon News

Cops aren’t convinced attacks related; victims say otherwise

Roxanne Stasyszyn Friday October 28, 2011

Susan Smith wants to know why she wasn’t warned about a sexual predator prowling Whitehorse.

“The police aren’t doing their fucking job,” she said as her eyes welled and her hand gripped the glass on the table in front of her. “I am fed up.”

On October 18, at around 8 p.m., Smith (a pseudonym the News is using to protect her identity) stepped outside the front doors of the 98 Hotel for a cigarette.

“Nobody was out there and I wasn’t really paying attention, but you know that feeling when someone’s behind you?” she said. “I turned around and he had his dick in his hands and he was jacking off.

“I ran for the door and he grabbed my hair and smashed my head on the ground.

“He put his knee in my mouth so I couldn’t scream and he tore my pants to shreds.”

Within moments, a Caucasian woman pulled the aggressor off and Smith ran inside the bar.

She does not know who the woman was, where she came from or where she went afterwards. She doesn’t know where the man went either.

“My boyfriend was sitting in here,” Smith said, pointing to the table she was at inside the 98. “He was right here and he didn’t even know what was going on right outside,” she said, pointing to the door and breaking down in tears.

The man who attacked her was about 50 to 53 years old with a full beard, cut short, with specks of grey in it. He was about five-feet, six inches tall, and had reddish/blondish hair, she said.

Since Smith was attacked, at least two more women have had similar experiences.

One woman was attacked on Jarvis Street and the other, who was attacked in Riverdale, is a waitress at the 98, said Smith.

That woman described a man remarkably similar to the man who attacked Smith, except he was wearing a black toque when he threw her on the ground and tried to penetrate her anus, Smith said.

On Wednesday, RCMP announced 29 sexual offenses have been reported since May.

“One sexual assault is too many,” said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Don Rogers. “But if you go purely by the numbers, we actually have less reported to us now than last year and less than the year before.”

From May 1, to November 1, 33 sexual assaults were reported in 2010, and 31 were reported in 2009.

But statistics can be misleading, said Rogers.

What is reported doesn’t always prove to be an assault, he said. For example, of the 29 sexual offences reported since May this year, four were “unfounded complaints,” he said. “In other words, they didn’t happen.”

And sexual offences consist a broader category than just attempted rape, he said.

Plus, police aren’t sure any of the recent attacks are related, said Rogers.

“We’re not discounting that some of them may be related,” he said. “And if they are, then once we have sufficient evidence to support that, then we will look at whether or not we need to do a public release.

“At this point and time, we don’t have anything to suggests that these are in any way linked.

“We’re not, however, discounting that either. We look at all the circumstances and all the facts before we make those decisions.”

But Smith believes the recent attacks are related.

The waitress from the 98 was attacked by a man with a similar description - she could see reddish/blond hair poking out from beneath the toque, Smith said.

The women believe the man drives a red truck.

On Tuesday, after Smith’s attack, RCMP were investigating red pickups parked in the vicinity of the bar.

And staff from the Rock Pub told the two victims they have noticed a man sitting in a red truck across the street.

“He’s obviously looking outside bars,” said Smith.

Smith warned her friends who work at the Casa Loma Hotel about the truck. On Monday, bar staff noticed a red truck in the parking lot.

A man was sitting inside it for at least an hour, the staff said on Thursday.

They reported the truck and licence plate to the RCMP.

Rogers would not confirm a report of a red truck from the Casa Loma staff. He wasn’t prepared to comb through all the files for an answer, he said.

But there has been one report of a red truck, outside the 98, said Rogers.

“At some point in time, the information that’s out there becomes tainted by so many people being aware of things that aren’t necessary,” said Rogers. “It makes our investigations more difficult.”

And it’s dangerous, he added.

“Now, every single person that’s out driving a red pickup truck becomes a suspect in the minds of the people,” he said. “It creates panic where it’s not necessarily deserved.

“In a perfect world, we’d go check every single red vehicle in the territory. And in a perfect world we’d go and stop by every single bar and say, ‘Hey, be aware of this.’ It’s just not possible. When one call comes in, the whole world doesn’t stop and people need to understand that. We still have other business that needs to be done and it doesn’t mean we minimize it, but we have to factor all those things in when we make a decision on how to proceed and whether or not we notify the public or go visit the bars.

“Every single investigation is unique and we have to weigh those things very, very carefully and independently of one another.

“People may criticize us for doing something, they may criticize us for not doing something. There’s no perfect answer.

“(These incidences) may be related in people’s minds, and I can understand why they think they are, but until we’re sure, we’re not going to make a hasty decision.”

But Smith won’t stop warning her girlfriends and people she knows.

“I have nightmares,” she said. “I’m scared.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

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jodie wrote:
12:58am Tuesday November 1, 2011

I have a few comments to bring to light.

Usually the statistics are deceiving because the majority of rapes, sexual assaults and sexual harassment go unreported (not because a small amount of them are proven to be false). This can be especially true in cases where the community does not trust the law enforcement officers and officials. When this trust is broken it can be incredibly hard to convince women to come forward to report offences.

I hope that the comments made here by Sgt. Rogers are taken out of context… otherwise they come across as cruel and devil-may-care about a very serious issue in the territory. Sure, reported incidences may be going down but we still have one of the highest rates in Canada (per capita) for sexual offences.

The RCMP in the territory have a little bit of work to do around the issue of sexual assault. Our community should feel that the RCMP are taking women’s issues seriously so that we may feel safe reporting cases to them, instead of feeling that they are part of the problem.

I haven’t forgotten the accusations from last year concerning two RCMP officers and their conduct and I don’t think I’m the only one. I would love to see an exposée on this from the News or another intrepid organization.

Here’s a link to the case from last year ... http://yukon-news.com/news/17289/

golfsierra47 wrote:
2:21pm Sunday October 30, 2011

And The News slips to a new low because they forgot…or never knew…that they need to cleanup their headlines and copy. C’mon, guys, you can do better than that!  And in our culture we expect it!

Frank Silva wrote:
3:09pm Saturday October 29, 2011

What’s with printing all the f-ing swearing?

If you believe this... wrote:
3:34am Saturday October 29, 2011

Why were you not warned?  Probably because you were the first person to report something like this.
“The police aren’t doing their fucking job,”  - Well that’s pretty hard when I hear that you can’t even finish you statement to police and refuse to turn over your clothes as evidence and DEMAND to leave the interview before it is over.  Why don’t you cooperate and go back to the detachment like you have been asked on a number of occassions so they can help you instead of spreading false information to the papers.
Help the police help you “Susan Smith”.

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