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Man reports sexual assault on Bank Street to police liaison committee

Committee presents Gender Mosaic with cheque at monthly meeting

Denis Schryburt, Shaun Brabazon, Joan McKenna and Gary Leger present Zelda Marshall, centre, with a cheque for Gender Mosaic on Sept 16. Credit: Bradley Turcotte

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) GLBT liaison committee revealed at its monthly meeting Sept 16 that a man filed a report of sexual assault during Capital Pride (CP).

Committee co-chair Denis Schryburt says a man approached him at the Village movie night, Aug 21, to make the report.

“This person claims to have been sexually assaulted on Bank Street. Apparently, he met someone on Bank Street through online and then things progressed a little too much and too quickly. He was sexually assaulted and made a report to police,” Schryburt says.

The man was taken to hospital for a checkup and no charges have been laid in the case. The assault occurred in June, Schryburt says.

Committee co-chair Joan McKenna reminded committee members to encourage anyone who comes forward with a sexual assault to file a report.

“Once we become aware, our SAC — sexual assault and child abuse unit — is then assigned to follow up those files,” McKenna says. “They would then do outreach to the involved person.”

Monday’s meeting also allotted time to celebrate the successes of CP. The Aug 19 pancake breakfast at OPS headquarters, which kicked off flag-raising day, raised $400.50 for Ottawa trans support group Gender Mosaic (GM). Zelda Marshall accepted the cheque on GM’s behalf.

“We can’t not mention the incredible bus tour that made it around the city,” committee coordinator Luke Smith, who conceived the bus tour, says. “It really showed great solidarity with all our city services.”

Deanna Schofield, superintendent of operations with Ottawa Paramedic Service, says her organization, which won the most creative float award at the Pride parade, raised $600 for Camp Ten Oaks at their CP event and plans to donate additional funds to CP.

The liaison committee also previewed sections of its proposed work plan for 2014 and combed over a draft of its updated terms of reference.

Each year the committee presents an information exchange to dissect a topic of interest with police officers, service providers and members of Ottawa’s queer community. After focusing on hate crimes at this year’s information exchange, 2014 will see engagement with the ethnocultural community take centre stage. Youth engagement and empowerment and engaging with elders in long-term care will be topics for 2015 and 2016, respectively.

“Having met with the city, we decided creating a three-year plan would be more effective,” Smith says. “We’re trying to essentially tie in our information exchange with broader movements and events in the city at a city service level.”

The committee plans to address youth engagement before 2015’s information exchange. Next month a group of youth will present to the committee on the topic of engagement to set the stage for a November roundtable.

When looking around the table at the committee meetings, certain gaps are noticeable, committee community vice-chair Gary Leger says, and the largest gap comes from the absence of youth.

“We’re extending the invitation to a lot of the youth organizations,” Leger explains.  “We will reach out to most organizations, such as Jer’s Vision, the Youth Services Bureau and Ten Oaks. The forum will really be for them.”

A topic youth can address will be chosen for November’s roundtable, Leger says, but the committee will remove its involvement from the event.

“They want to take more of a leadership role, so I think it’s a great opportunity to let them go over and find the right kinds of solutions on how they want to engage themselves with the liaison committee,” Leger says. “What they expect, what they want to see, how they fit at this table and what we can do to solidify our relationship with the community.”

The next liaison committee meeting is Oct 21.