Seeking Victims of Sexual Assault Following an Online Encounter
Gatineau, February 27, 2019. –
The Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau (SPVG) yesterday arrested Michel Giroux, 26 years of age, Simon Lavoie, 27 years of age, and Hasan Demirovic, 31 years of age, in connection with sexual assaults. According to the three complaints received by the SPVG, one of which is still under investigation, an intoxicant, possibly GHB, was administered to their victims to facilitate the perpetration of sexual assaults. The SPVG has reason to fear that there may be other victims, and wishes to remind the public of basic precautions to take when meeting someone for the first time after an online encounter.
|Mr. Giroux used dating apps to contact his victims.
- In the cases of the three complaints received by the SPVG, the Tinder and Bumble apps were used.
- Other apps of the same type may also have been used.
|When using those apps, Mr. Giroux used his true identity.
|After a few exchanges, Mr. Giroux invited the victim to his or a friend's place.
- When the victim went to the suspect's residence, she noticed upon her arrival that there was another man present, whom Mr. Giroux said was a friend of his.
- In those cases where the victim went to the home of a friend of Mr. Giroux, she was accompanied by Mr. Giroux and the friend in question.
|Alcohol was consumed, and the victims quickly felt the symptoms of advanced intoxication. They reported feeling disinhibited and paralyzed.
|This was followed by sexual acts perpetrated on the victim, in which Mr. Giroux and the other man present took part, despite the lack of consent by the victim.
|The SPVG has reason to believe that other people may have become victims of Mr. Giroux, and invites them to contact its investigators by calling 819-243-2346, extension 6040.
Information about the investigations and the suspect
|The three complaints of sexual assault investigated by the SPVG were filed in 2018. The events would have happened in that same year.
|Mr. Giroux was quickly identified as a suspect, and the investigation led to a positive identification of Messrs. Lavoie and Demirovic.
|The three suspects were arrested by SPVG police yesterday at around 3:30 p.m.
|They were taken to SPVG headquarters, where they were met by the investigators.
|They remained in detention for their appearance before the Court of Québec this morning.
|Charges of sexual assault and overcoming resistance to commission of offence through the administration of a substance were authorized by the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP) for the three men. In addition to the first two charges, Mr. Giroux was charged with non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
|The investigation continues, and further charges may be laid.
Quote by Officer Andrée East
“We invite anyone who may have been a victim of Mr. Giroux, or of any other person, to file a complaint or to seek help from a specialized organization. In matters of sexual assault, it is often difficult for people to file a report if they feel guilty or ashamed. Certain false notions about that type of crime, even today lead victims to feel responsible for what happened to them, but they should not. Even when someone consents to have sexual relations with one or more persons, it is not acceptable to exceed the limits of what they consented to. We want to reassure the victims that they will not be judged if they file a complaint. Their file will be treated in strict confidentiality, and we will respect their decision as to whether or not to take legal action.”
Personal safety tips
|It is important at all times to be vigilant about personal safety. In matters of personal safety, it is always best to avoid risky situations.
|Even though not all situations can be prevented or controlled, it is possible to take steps to reduce the risk of falling victim to certain crimes of opportunity.
|For example, in a first meeting resulting from an online encounter, the following precautions should be taken:
- a first meeting should always take place on neutral ground, such as in a public place;
- be sure to make your own transportation arrangements both there and back;
- let someone you trust know about the meeting, letting them know where it will take place, with whom, and what time you expect it to end;
- it is best to keep your personal effects on you (cell phone, keys, ID cards, etc.); and
- if you feel at all uncomfortable about the person, the best thing to do is trust your instincts and leave immediately.
|The SPVG has a number of prevention tips for residents at police.gatineau.ca. Those tips can help identify potentially dangerous situations and ways to avoid them.
|GHB in liquid form is odourless, colourless and tasteless. It also exists in capsule and powder form. Although it may taste slightly salty or soapy, it is difficult to detect when mixed with an alcoholic beverage.
|The main effects of GHB are as follows:
- feeling of being intoxicated;
- loss of inhibition;
- limited vision;
- loss of balance and of contact with reality;
- impaired judgment and confusion;
- sensation of calm or euphoria;
- signs of excitability or aggression;
- chills and nausea;
- amnesia and hallucinations; and
- loss of conscience.
|If you feel any of these things, immediately seek out someone who should be able to help (bar staff, store clerk, hospital, police, etc.).
- whether out in public or in your home, always be aware of your surroundings and of what you consume;
- even if a drink is prepared in front of you, it is important to keep in mind that an illicit product may have been mixed ahead of time into the alcohol or juice used to prepare a cocktail;
- it is best to refuse a drink offered by a stranger and not to “taste” someone else's drink, even if it's someone you know;
- if you leave a glass unattended, for instance when you go to the bathroom, do not drink from it again; and
- if in doubt as to whether someone else has touched your glass, it is best not to drink from it.
|If you decide to consume GHB voluntarily, it is best to do so in the presence of someone you trust.
Prévention du crime et conseils de sécurité]