Petition Calls for College Street Bar Boycott After Owner Charged with Sex Assault

Video: How survivors and the accused fare in sex assault cases

A Toronto woman has launched a petition calling for the boycott of a Little Italy bar after learning of allegations its owner and an employee sexually assaulted another woman.

Gavin MacMillan, 41, and Carasco Enzo Dejesus, 31, were arrested on Saturday and charged with forcible confinement and two counts of sexual assault after the woman in question went to police.

The 24-year-old woman said she was given illicit drugs and alcohol while in the College Street Bar on Thursday.

Viktoria Belle co-founded the Sexual Assault Action Coalitionafter she was allegedly sexually assaulted in October, and the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

“He grabbed me from behind and forced me on the ground and sexually assaulted me until I was able to get away from him,” she said.

“I fought and I ran and I called the police while running to my house.”

Within 24 hours of its launch, Belle’s petition calling for the shutdown of College Street Bar had almost reached its goal of 1,000 signatures.

“No more excuses, no more silence, no more shi**y bars that glorify sexual assault and violence!” it reads.

“A few days ago at College Street Bar … Gavin MacMillan owner and Carasco Enzo Dejesus an employee, gave a 24-year-old woman illegal drugs and alcohol inside the bar.”

Belle said she doesn’t believe she is convicting the accused, but many on social media have already pronounced them guilty.

launching a petition 2day 2 have college street bar closed until staff get anti violence training & bar develops policy to protect patrons!

Disgusted by assault. As a bartender, my patrons are my guests, not my prey. I am so sorry they hurt you.

 

“Social media makes it very easy to try, convict and sentence a person before they’ve even had their first appearance,” criminal defence lawyer Jody Berkes said.

“These things out there in cyberspace live on long after the charges are dealt with. When you Google people you see vicious, horrible things printed about them.”

But defence lawyer David Butt, who worked as a prosecutor for sex assault victims for 13 years, said public opinion on social media can actually hurt a victim in the long run.

“If there is huge immediate public outcry and then the case founders in the justice system, there could be tremendous blowback for the complainant,” he said.

“The system simply isn’t in favour of victims. The courts only care about proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

According to the Toronto Police Service, of the 2,164 sexual assaults reported to them in 2015, 777 people were charged.

With files from Adrian Ghobrial and Cynthia Mulligan


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