A Red Deer woman said she was groped on Nov. 21 at an outdoor parking lot in the middle of the day and police say several women have filed similar complaints in recent months. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Women groped downtown

Red Deer RCMP have suspected serial sexual attacker in custody

After several complaints from women who were groped or accosted on downtown streets, Red Deer RCMP now have a suspect in custody following another incident Wednesday morning.

Insp. Dean LaGrange, head of the downtown policing unit, said women started reporting incidents about two or three months ago.

“The RCMP is aware of several instances of women being accosted,” LaGrange said.

“We’re linking them, and today, there was another incident and somebody is in custody.”

A 33-year-old woman, who did not want to be identified, said she was assaulted a week ago at lunchtime when she was outside her vehicle at the outdoor Red Deer City parking lot on 48th Street, near Blue Grass Sod Farm Central Spray and Play.

She said a male came up behind her, stuck his hand up her skirt and grabbed her crotch, then ran away.

“I was taking a picture, and all of a sudden, I felt a hand on my body and I went into shock,” she said.

The victim said she was so upset, she didn’t think of taking a photo of her assailant.

“I was completely frozen. I couldn’t even shout at him.

“You don’t think it’s going to happen in front of a splash and play park in the middle of the day with people all around. I was in a busy section of town. It’s creepy.”

She immediately reported the assault to police. She said the officer who responded was compassionate and treated her with dignity, but she wished someone would have told her that crime was common in Red Deer.

“I don’t think that’s really fair for people to be walking around their city and not being told this was a problem. I would have liked to have known that.”

She only recently moved to Red Deer and started working downtown at the beginning of October.

“I’m very jaded with Red Deer’s downtown.”

She said she’s lived in Calgary and Toronto and visits huge cities such as New York and has never been assaulted like this before.

“It’s very frustrating to know there are people who make these choices to hurt other human beings.”

The victim said she has always been careful when walking alone.

“I think women, sometimes, we get accused because of what we’re wearing, what we’re doing, or who we’re with. I feel like I’ve tried to always be safe. I’m in my 30s. I’ve gone to six years of university.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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