college street bar

College Street Bar rapists sentenced to nine years in prison

It is very rare that a sexual assault case results in justice actually being served. Given the results of notable cases — like the time Brock Turner got a measley six-month sentence for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster or when Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted on multiple charges — it's not exactly surprising that an estimated 3 per cent of sexual assaults actually end with convictions in Canada and even fewer do in the U.S.

The perpetrators in one high-profile Toronto sexual assault case, though, have just received a sentence of nine years in jail in a ruling that some are considering a win for assault survivors everywhere.

Residents were shocked when the owner and the manager of College Street Bar, a busy Little Italy watering hole, were accused of forcibly confining and sexually assaulting a woman for multiple hours in their establishment in late 2016.

Gavin MacMillan and Carasco Enzo Dejesus were both charged with sexual assault, sexual assault as a party to the offence with any other person and forcible confinement as a result of the incident, leading many to boycott the bar and plaster its windows with signs bearing messages in support of sexual assault survivors.

It was shut down less than two months later and eventually sold, while the two men were found guilty of the crimes in November 2019.

Today's sentencing, which includes seven years for gang sexual assault and two years for administering a stupefying substance for each man, was in many ways thanks to graphic security footage from what the judge called "prolonged, violent and degrading sexual assault" by two "predators with a deep sense of entitlement."

The case hit close to home for many given the fact it took place in a popular business in the downtown core, and that more than one-third of Canadian adult women have experienced sexual assault (and all have to fear it on a daily basis).

Also, the fact that bar staff are meant to look out for the safety of their patrons — not prey on them and put that safety in jeopardy.

Groups like Bartenders Against Sexual Harassment were created in the wake of the College Street Bar crime, hopefully lending some sense of hope and comfort to assault survivors and bargoing residents in general.

Both MacMillan and Dejesus are appealing the convictions, according to CP24, though many agree that despite the good news that a sexual assault trial actually resulted in prison time, the nine years the criminals received is not nearly harsh enough.

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