Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police check for link in bicycle gropings

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POLICE are investigating whether the same man on a bicycle groped two women this week -- an ordeal that experts say can have a lasting, traumatic impact on victims.

On Tuesday, a 31-year-old jogger was out near Ness Avenue and Sackville Street at about 9:30 p.m. when a young man rode up behind her and grabbed her. A day later, a 41-year-old woman was walking around 11 p.m. Wednesday near Harrow Street and Academy Road when a young man cycled by and grabbed her lower body.

She told polce the man on the bike followed her from Academy and Cordova, about a kilometre away.

Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said warm weather can draw out predators.

"There are people out there enjoying nice warm summer nights, getting exercise, and enjoying their community, and then we have individuals victimizing (them) in this way," he said. "I think it's important that this information be related to them so that they can be aware... be more cognizant of their own personal safety."

The suspect in Wednesday night's incident is described as about 19 or 20 years old, thin with short, dark hair. He wore a dark shirt and long, dark baggy shorts.

The suspect involved in the groping Tuesday was described as 15 or 16, Aboriginal in appearance, with short, black hair with spikes in front. Part of the longer hair on the back of his head was dyed orange. He wore sweatpants and had a dark bike.

A local advocate said women should treat unwanted sexual contact seriously and seek help for the crime.

"I think sometimes when we hear of these scenarios, people have a tendency to minimize that these are not as serious as other forms of sexual assault," said Lorraine Parrington, co-ordinator of the Klinic sexual assault crisis program. "I think people sometimes don't realize if someone grabs you in that way that's still considered a Criminal Code offence.

"It can still have significant impacts for people in terms of their feelings. When someone grabs you like that, you don't know what else they might do, the same kind of trauma would be for any form of sexual assault."

Anyone with information can also call Crime Stoppers at 786-8477 (TIPS).

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 25, 2010 B2

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