News / Ottawa

Another U of O student reported man now charged with sexual assault

After Mélodie Morin went public, another female student at the University of Ottawa reported suspicious behaviour about the man now accused of sexual assault.

Three months after Mélodie Morin, 18, filed a sexual assault complaint with Ottawa police, investigators laid charges against the assailant. It appears the same man has harassed other women at the University of Ottawa.

Joe Lofaro/Metro

Three months after Mélodie Morin, 18, filed a sexual assault complaint with Ottawa police, investigators laid charges against the assailant. It appears the same man has harassed other women at the University of Ottawa.

The University of Ottawa received a complaint from one of its female students about a man who is now wanted on a Canada-wide arrest warrant for an alleged sexual assault on a second woman who used to go to the school.

The student complained to the university on Nov. 30 about the same man who is accused of sexually assaulting former University of Ottawa student Mélodie Morin two months earlier.

Morin, 18, was attacked in late September. She has since left the university on advice from her doctor.

She alleges the man – who she only knows as “Ayham” – sexually assaulted her for two hours on Sept. 25 while she was celebrating her birthday.

Ottawa police looked into her complaint, but Morin says they deemed the incident a “misunderstanding” and closed the case.

But Morin says she got a call from a detective on Dec. 24 telling her the man has been charged in absentia since he has left Canada, and he will be arrested if he returns.

Ottawa police reopened her case after Morin went to the media to tell her story. The force released a statement saying the case was closed prematurely since “not all investigative avenues had been exhausted.”

It was only once Morin had gone public with her story and urged the police to reopen her case that another female student contacted her through Facebook about her attacker.

That student – who spoke on the condition that her name not be published – shared with Metro a detailed complaint she emailed to the university about the same man identified by Morin.

The woman sent the complaint on Nov. 30 using her university email account to a member of the school’s Protection Services unit, which investigates crimes that happen on campus.

In it, she says some of her friends were invited to a party at the man’s home. The woman didn’t go to that party, but she says her friends told her that when they arrived, the only people there were the man and another male.

The woman says she later got a second invitation to another party, which she declined. She says the man’s behaviour was unsettling.

“Their demeanor was very creepy and persisting even though we very clearly weren't interested in having a conversation with them,” the woman wrote in her statement. 

In her complaint, she describes another encounter in early November in which she saw the man approaching women in the cafeteria.

She says she approached the women to ask if they knew the man. They told her that they did.

The woman says in her complaint that the man apparently saw her talking to the women and chased her and one of her friends on campus.

“We were terrified and in tears,” she wrote.

The woman says the episode left her with nightmares, and she avoided the cafeteria for a week for fear of seeing the man again.

A university spokesman declined to comment on the complaint, citing privacy concerns.

“The University of Ottawa is committed to work toward establishing a safe and respectful environment on campus free of sexualized violence,” Patrick Charette said in a statement.

“We take all allegations very seriously. There are many resources available for victims and new initiatives are also in the works. We co-operate with local police services.”

Ottawa police have not named the man or commented on the charges he faces.

Morin says she is "not really impressed" by how her complaint was handled.

"I feel like they tell women to speak up, but we shouldn’t have to yell to even get acknowledged," she said.

"That’s what I had to do, I had to go to the media. I had to get on top of the roof to tell everybody what happened to me.”

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