London, Ont., police are working with Western College officers and interviewing college students after reviews that as much as 30 younger girls had been drugged and sexually assaulted at a first-year residence over the weekend.
“Let me state from the outset that these are severe and disturbing allegations they usually’ve been taken critically from the onset,” mentioned London police Chief Steve Williams at a digital media briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
However police haven’t acquired any reviews in regards to the alleged drugging or sexual assaults at Medway-Sydenham Corridor over the weekend or in current days, Williams added, regardless of hundreds of feedback on Instagram and the video-sharing app TikTok claiming incidents occurred on the residence.
“The allegations surfaced, no less than for us, on social media. Everyone knows how info misinformation swirls round social media, and we now have to take that under consideration,” Williams mentioned.
These are severe and disturbing allegations they usually’ve been taken critically from the onset– London police Chief Steve Williams
Social media is usually a assist and a hindrance throughout investigations, he added.
“Many investigations contain some points of social media and our investigators know that. It is actually a matter of knocking on doorways and speaking to folks to get the info, and that is precisely what we began doing yesterday [Monday] and we’ll proceed to … see the place the investigation takes us.”
Pupil arrested, launched
Police additionally dispelled rumours that the dying of first-year scholar Gabriel Neil, 18, is in any method linked to the sexual assault investigation.
“These two incidents ought to by no means be linked, and these kinds of unfounded feedback are hurtful to Mr Neil’s household,” Williams mentioned.
Neil died after an alleged assault near campus, at Sarnia and Western Roads. A 21-year-old has been charged with manslaughter.
London Morning7:14Investigating a number of allegations of sexual violence at Western College
over the troublesome begin to the brand new college 12 months, as in-person lessons returned following months of options to studying due to the pandemic.
London police do not normally examine allegations made on social media, however have opened an investigation into what could have occurred at Medway-Sydenham Corridor.
“We’re actively working in collaboration with Western College to establish and assist any victims and to make sure a radical investigation is performed,” Williams mentioned.
Up to now week, London police acquired three complaints of sexual assault involving 4 feminine college students. One male scholar was arrested in relation to a type of complaints, however has since been launched from custody and has not been charged, police mentioned.
“There isn’t any info at current linking the three prior allegations to occasions alleged to have occurred at Medway-Sydenham Corridor, however these incidents stay below energetic investigation, which is able to embrace analyzing any potential linkage between varied incidents.”
‘We imagine survivors’
Western College president Alan Shepard additionally participated within the media briefing, saying the allegations on social media are troubling.
“Security and safety on campus are a precedence for us, the best precedence. The current occasions don’t replicate Western values and they aren’t the Western expertise that we might need for our college students, and albeit, they are not the sort of expertise that anybody would need for younger folks as they embark on this glorious new chapter of their lives.”
Gender-based violence is “pervasive” in society and on college campuses, and officers are working to fight it, he mentioned.
“I believe all universities have work to do with respect to sexual violence, and I do not assume Western is alone in that respect,” Shepard mentioned. “We’ve elevated our potential for college students to get assist once they want assist. We have additionally tried to make clear the method by which individuals might report. Let me be very clear: We imagine survivors and we belief them and we work to to assist them.”