Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Former youth leader arrested in sex assaults

Accused groped victims while on his bike: police

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A former volunteer city youth leader faces charges he groped women and girls in a spree of seemingly random broad-daylight assaults in east Winnipeg earlier this week.

Police said Friday they'd arrested a 23-year-old suspect in connection with six recent sexual assaults.

They disclosed details of three that took place Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The first involved a girl, 14, who reported a stranger on a bicycle had approached her near Munroe Avenue and Besant Street and touched her inappropriately.

The male groper was scared off by a witness, said Const. Eric Hofley.

A 17-year-old girl walking near Roch Street and Sydney Avenue said she was touched by a man on a bike as he rode by.

The final victim was a woman, 21, who said she was approached by a man on a bike who tried to chat with her before she was groped.

There were no physical injuries, Hofley stressed. Officers on patrol in the 200 block of Grey Street noticed a suspect around 2 p.m. Thursday and arrested him without incident.

Police charged Bekele Shibiru with six counts of sexual assault following an interview, said Hofley.

The three other charges relate to similar investigations, said Hofley. They aren't historical unsolved cases, he said.

Shibiru was ordered held at the Winnipeg Remand Centre.

Shibiru was born in Ethiopia and came to Winnipeg from Kenya with family in 2005, say provincial court records.

He was convicted of causing a disturbance in February 2013 and handed a conditional discharge, allowing him to avoid a criminal record.

Shibiru was one of three people arrested after a fracas outside the Cue Club on Pembina Highway on Canada Day, 2012.

A fight broke out between two groups and Shiburu's friend was injured, according to prosecutors.

Shibiru became upset and was seen screaming and drunk.

Two of the people he was with tried to bust into the Cue Club using wooden boards, the court heard. Shibiru was not one of them.

After arriving in Winnipeg, Shibiru completed high school at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate.

He also volunteered as a youth leader at the Winnipeg Boys and Girls Club between 2008 and 2010, defence lawyer Wendy Martin White said.

After dealing with his court case, he had planned to go live and work with relatives in Edmonton, the court heard.

Shibiru is presumed innocent of the sexual-assault allegations.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 14, 2014 A9

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