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Ottawa police investigating sexual assaults targeting sex trade workers downtown

Ottawa Police
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OTTAWA -

Ottawa police believe one suspect is responsible for three sexual assaults targeting sex trade workers in the downtown area.

Between December 2020 and September 2021, the Ottawa Police Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section received three reports of incidents that occurred in the area of Murray Street, King Edward Avenue and Dalhousie Street between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

"The suspect, who targets sex trade workers, approaches them and pulls them off the street to sexually assault them," said police in a statement. "Afterwards, he then flees the scene on foot."

Police say in all incidents, the suspect was described as a Black man, 20-30 years-old, 6'0", thin build with short black hair.

"When we see something like this where we've identified a pattern, we've identified some links, it definitely raises our concern," said Insp. Heather Lachine. "Acts of violence against women are not tolerated and the concern is there could potentially be more victims and we just want the public to be aware."

Lachine urged people, especially women, to not be alone and to be cognizant of their surroundings.

Investigators have established a possible link between the incidents and are concerned there could be other victims.

"The time of day that the incidents were happening, location of the incidents and just some other patterns through the investigation that we identified," said Lachine. 

Police say there are potential witnesses to the assaults they would like to speak to.

"SACA Investigators will respect a victim’s wish to pursue or not pursue an investigation. Regardless, the reporting of incidents of violence against women to police is key in identifying suspects and determining crime trends," said police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Service Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5944.

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