Community holds sexual assault survivors fundraiser
Published Saturday, August 17, 2019 7:06PM EDT
A fundraiser in Waterloo Region was focusing on survivors of sexual assault a day after police made an arrest in a serial child predator investigation.
Regional Police announced on Friday they had placed 32-year-old Timi Gusak from Milton in custody.
The arrest is in relation to three separate sexual assault incidents involving young girls, with the first dating back to 2013.
Police say they don’t believe Gusak was known to any of his victims.
“I think I can speak on behalf of everyone and the community when I say there is a sense of relief,” said Sara Casselman, executive director of Waterloo Region’s Sexual Assault Support Centre. “More often than not it is someone that a child knows.”
Casselman was in attendance at a fundraiser for the centre on Saturday.
The original goal was to raise $5,000 to help with the 140 people they have on a wait list.
The total was reached early in the day. A new goal of $10,000 was established.
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse was also in attendance at the fundraiser.
“Having that trauma and having been through it,” she said. “It really triggers within you a lot of memories you might have.”
She adds that admitting it happened is the first step to healing. She admits she didn’t seek help until a few years ago.
“To have the confidence to say this is something that happened to me,” she said. “It is not something that defines me.”
When it comes to assault awareness, she feels it shouldn’t end after an arrest.
“If you just make a snap decision and say that person is a terrible person and they should go to jail, what do you do after that?” she said. “What do you do to prevent that?”
The father of the accused spoke to CTV Kitchener and says he doesn’t agree with how his son is being portrayed.
“If they arrest someone, he isn’t guilty until it’s proven in court,” he said. “My kid is accused of sexual assault. People are saying he’s a monster and a predator. It’s really hard on us.”
Police released several videos in this investigation earlier this month, including one of the suspect. This was done shortly after a four-year-old girl was sexually assaulted at a Brybeck Crescent apartment in July.
Police say they linked the three cases using DNA.