Toronto police have issued a public safety alert after it was reported a six-year-old child was sexually assaulted inside a west-end home Saturday night, and that someone was seen in the backyard of the same home the following night.
“I was upstairs and my daughter started screaming, shaking,” the girl’s mother told Global News Thursday afternoon.
“She was afraid … I thought maybe (it was) some bad dream, maybe she fell asleep at the time — but she wasn’t sleeping.”
Police said on Wednesday that a man entered a home near Renforth Drive and Burnhamthorpe Road sometime between 11 p.m. on Saturday and 12 a.m. on Sunday. It’s alleged the man sexually assaulted the child before leaving in an unknown direction. A suspect description hasn’t been released by officers as of Wednesday night.
On Sunday at around 11 p.m., police said a man was seen in the home’s backyard. The suspect seen in the backyard is described as being in his late 20s or early 30s, 5’8″ or 5’9″, and having short, dark hair. He was last seen wearing a dark-coloured jacket.
The mother of five said the man on Sunday tried to enter the property.
Police haven’t confirmed if the same man is involved in both incidents, which were reported to officers on Tuesday.
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While canvassing for information as part of the investigation, police said residents in the neighbourhood roughly bounded by Renforth Drive, Rathburn Road, The West Mall and Burnhamthorpe Road reported incidents of prowling, indecent acts and/or exposures.
“We’ve had various accounts – one individual that was allegedly exposing himself in a backyard, we’ve had other accounts where somebody has simply gone through a backyard or looked through a back window,” Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit Insp. Domenic Sinopoli told Global News on Thursday, adding all the incidents happened within a few weeks.
However, Sinopoli said there is no evidence at this time to connect those incidents with the reported sexual assault.
“The incidents on their own merit some concern but we have no evidence to suggest there is a nexus between the sexual assault and these other incidents,” he said.
Officers asked residents and business owners in the neighbourhood to be extra vigilant.
“We’re appealing to residents in the area and or businesses in the area to scour through their video, particularly between Saturday and Monday … What we’re interested in is any suspicious incidents or suspicious persons that may have come into camera view,” Sinopoli said.
“What we’re looking for is for the public not to assume that police are not interested in minor incidents or to assume that somebody else or another member of the public would be calling police.”
Police are asking anyone with information to contact investigators at 416-808-7474 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.