A Toronto bar’s licence under review by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) after its owner and an employee were charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement.
Toronto police said a 24-year-old woman was at the College Street Bar in Toronto’s Little Italy area, near College Street and Manning Avenue, on the evening of Dec. 14 and the early hours of Dec. 15 when she was given illegal drugs and alcohol, sexually assaulted and forcibly confined inside the bar.
Enzo De Jesus Carrasco, 31, and Gavin MacMillan, 41, were each charged with forcible confinement and sexual assault in mid-December.
Police said Wednesday that new information came to light through an ongoing investigation involving the same complainant and the two suspects were charged with more offences Monday.
Carrasco now faces a total of nine charges, including forcible confinement, drug trafficking, four counts of gang sexual assault and three counts of sexual assault.
MacMillan has been charged with seven offences in total, including forcible confinement, drug trafficking, failure to comply with recognizance and four counts of gang sexual assault.
A spokesman for the ACGO said in a statement Thursday that the regulator was aware of the “serious charges” and were in the process of conducting a review with Toronto police.
“Allegations of criminal conduct are concerns with respect to compliance with the Liquor Licence Act and can result in a regulatory response including revocation of a liquor licence,” Phil Serruya said.
“Generally speaking, the AGCO does not have to wait until there is a criminal conviction before taking a disciplinary action.”
An online petition calling for the closure of the bar in connection with the alleged incident has garnered more than 1,700 signatures and a sexual assault survivor advocate and a Toronto city councillor are calling for more to be done.
Viktoria Belle, co-founder of the Sexual Assault Action Coalition, met with Coun. Mike Layton Thursday to discuss why the bar remains open.
“I really wanted to get his opinion and expertise about how is the city responsible, how can the city be responsible and what can we do to hold this establishment accountable to the public?” she said.
“It happened in the bar itself allegedly. How do we know it won’t happen again?”
Layton said he is hoping to present a motion to city council with respect to the issue, but is still determining what the motion would be comprised of.
“We want to make sure that we’re fulfilling our commitment to make sure people are both safe in their work place and safe when they go out to enjoy a night in Toronto,” he said.
“We know that the incidents like this are rare, but I think if you talk to anyone in the industry it’s far too common that those work in establishments like this are subject to very similar things in their workplace and we need to make sure that we’re conscious of that.”
Layton said city council has requested in the past that the AGCO take action by revoking or reviewing a bar’s licence and the city can do the same at a licencing review tribunal.
“We’ve done this in other occasions where there have been significant and repeated violent events,” he said.
“And what we’re learning about this particular case is very disturbing and we need to make sure that the city is taking a look at this and the bodies that issue licences are taking a look at this.”
The two men appeared in a Toronto court Tuesday. Carrasco was released on a $75,000 bail and MacMillan was released on a $50,000 bail, and both will be back in court Feb. 6.
Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact police at 416-808-7474 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).