Cops aren’t convinced attacks related; victims say otherwise

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.

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

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Most Read