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Security: suspect tried to enter 50 residence rooms

Photo: Remi Yuan

Ottawa police have charged a youth with one count of sexual assault and one count of break-and-enter after he entered eight rooms in the Stanton residence at the University of Ottawa in the early hours of Feb. 15

The university’s security apprehended a young man on the fourth floor who matched the description of a known young offender after he tried to enter more than 50 rooms. He was then arrested by police.

The teenager was released from custody on a promise to appear in court “with conditions in place to protect the community,” according to an Ottawa Police Service press release.

The university increased security in the residence for the two nights following the incident. 

The suspect, who is under the age of 18, can’t be named because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Police did not release his age or the number of alleged victims, according to the CBC.

Gabrielle Read, president of the Resident’s Association of the University of Ottawa, confirmed there was one alleged sexual assault and that the individual in question was registered as a guest by a resident.

Students are required to register guests at the front desk and must follow specific guidelines when signing in someone overnight.

Read said she immediately met with the director of Housing Service, Michel Guilbeault, to discuss what course of action to take. 

“This was an unfortunate incident which we’re all still very concerned about, which is why we want to take a step back and (see) what can we do additionally to enhance the safety of students,” said Guilbeault.

“People feel so safe they leave their doors unlocked, which is a good thing on the one hand,” he said. “But there’s certain things that you have to do to protect your own safety and that of your personal belongings.”

They plan to host a meeting sometime this week where they will ask residents to be diligent in locking their doors and to report any strange activity.

“We will also be asking residents for comments or suggestions on what they find may help them feel more secure in residence,” said Read.

Both Read and Guilbeault maintain the break-in was an isolated incident and that students living on campus are safe.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Service Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Section at 613-236-1222 ext. 5944 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477.