Concordia has had to deal with recent incidents concerning a middle-aged man who has been indecently touching himself in front of women studying alone at the Sir George Williams campus library.
The man is described to be in his 40s with a dark, receding hairline and glasses. He was last seen wearing a plaid shirt with jeans, and one victim specifically noticed he was wearing a wedding ring. Incidents reported of the same man have been made during the evening, around 5 p.m. and at night, at approximately 10 p.m., on both the second and fourth floor of the SGW library. Both incidents occurred to girls studying alone in the private cubicles.
According to two female students, Tess Juan-Gaillot and Althea Thompson, the man did not outwardly expose himself, but was clearly playing with himself under his clothes.
“It began with what seemed to me to be scratching himself, then after an hour of the occasional “scratch” he started to touch himself and I realized what was happening and left right away,” said Thompson.
Similarly, Juan-Gaillot described her incident as having been, “completely alone in my cubicle area when he sat in the cubicle right beside me. This made me rather aware of his presence (…) After a few minutes, more people sat down in the cubicle area, which put me at ease. I stopped paying attention to him until I absentmindedly looked in his direction. That is when I noticed his right arm muscles pulsating as he repeatedly tugged at himself and rubbed his groin area.”
Juan-Gaillot said she immediately understood what he was doing and knew of him previously doing this to a few of her fellow students. Thinking fast, Juan-Gaillot decided to leave her supplies and books at her cubicle, pretending not to notice what the man was doing. She then proceeded to the security desk where the guard followed her quickly back to where the perpetrator was sitting. After asking and getting confirmation from the perpetrator that he was not a student, security insisted he leave the library and escorted him out.
“I felt violated. My space was intruded upon by an unwanted act, directed at me. He did not do this in the privacy of his own home,” she said. “He clearly chose to sit right beside me when there were multiple other empty seats. I felt uncomfortable and even unsafe.”
When the issue was discussed with President Alan Shepard, he replied “Security in this environment is an extremely difficult proposition because we’re a public institution. We have thousands of people every day coming and going on campus.”
“Security is a huge priority, we do our very best to ensure everyone’s safety [but] even having strong security doesn’t mean you’ll have zero incidents. I feel confident that our security services do a good job and they’re in touch with the police when they need to be,” he concluded.
According to an article published by CJAD, the police were not called and when Juan-Gaillot tried to file a police report she was told there was not much they could do and that it would have been better if they had been called at the time of the incident.