Blair says Ghomeshi not under investigation as another woman comes forward
Codi Wilson and Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, October 30, 2014 4:50PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 30, 2014 10:39PM EDT
DETAILS IN THIS STORY MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says Jian Ghomeshi is not currently under criminal investigation despite media reports detailing assault allegations involving the former CBC radio host.
Blair made the comment on Thursday afternoon, several hours before the Huffington Post published a first-person account from another woman accusing Ghomeshi of attacking her.
In the piece, author Reva Seth described a 2002 incident where she alleged the "Q" host was forceful with her.
She wrote that she and Ghomeshi “hung out chatting” after having a drink and smoking marijuana together.
“Suddenly, it was like he became a different person. He was super angry, almost frenzied and disassociated,” Seth alleged. “I distinctly remember the jarring sense of suddenly being abruptly shaken out of my reverie. I remember thinking "what the f*** is going on here? What's wrong with him?" Jian had his hands around my throat, had pulled down my pants and was aggressively and violently penetrating me with his fingers.”
While speaking to reporters at police headquarters Thursday afternoon, Blair encouraged all women who feel they have been victimized to come forward.
“When these crimes are committed, we need a complainant. We need someone to come forward and say this is what’s happened to me and we will investigate that and we will do that as quickly and compassionately as we can,” he said.
Allegations of Ghomeshi’s abusive behaviour came to light after The Toronto Star published the accounts of multiple anonymous women who say they were assaulted by the well-known host. Subsequently, "Trailer Park Boys" actress Lucy DeCoutere told The Star and CBC Thursday that in 2003, Ghomeshi choked her until she could not breathe and slapped her multiple times on the side of her head.
“He did not ask if I was into it. It was never a question. It was shocking to me,” DeCoutere told the Toronto newspaper.
Ghomeshi has denied any wrongdoing and maintained that all relations were consensual.
The allegations reported in The Star are said to have occurred between 2002 and 2014 and no allegations have been proven in court.
Blair said that there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault charges.
Blair added that it is important victims of sexual assault be connected with support services to help with their recovery.
“Within the Toronto Police Service, we have over 200 people working within Victim Services and they are able to respond very immediately,” he said.
When asked why the police service hasn’t reached out to any of the women quoted in the media reports, Blair said it would not be appropriate “just to respond to media accounts.”
“One of the things that we are very sensitive to is not to further traumatize a victim," he said.
"The media reports are one thing, but for us to then reach out and contact that victim, I don’t think that should be done through the media. If conversations are possible between people who wish to report their victimization and the police then that will take place but it won’t take place in the media.”
Blair said that sometimes victims may be reluctant to come forward to participate in a criminal investigation.
“Our first priority is their safety and their recovery and also the protection of others,” he said.
“I would want to reassure them that we have some remarkably dedicated and professional police officers working in our sex crimes unit.”
Earlier on Thursday, crisis communications firm Navigator released a statement announcing that they no longer represent Ghomeshi. In the statement, the firm said that the “circumstances” of their engagement have changed and that they are “no longer able to continue.” Minutes later, Ghomesi’s public relations firm rock-it promotions posted a message to Twitter, announcing that they too had parted ways with the former radio host.