The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) says it has identified persons of interest in four separate sexual assaults in the downtown area of St. John’s that may have involved the drugging of drinks.
In each of the cases the victims knew their attacker, Const. Steve Curnew said during a news conference Friday afternoon, although he would not say how many suspects the RNC is investigating.
There is not a public safety concern, but the RNC wanted the public to be aware that these sorts of assaults do happen, and to be cautious, he said.
“We have a person of interest identified in all cases, and there is no need for alarm.”
While Curnew would not say exactly when the reports were made, he did say they occurred within the last 10 days and that the four victims reported the assaults to police within a 48-hour period.
“In these reported cases the victims believe they may have been slipped some type of drug during the course of the night and they were assaulted as a result.”
All four incidents started in the George Street and downtown area, said Curnew, but he would not elaborate further.
“As part of our investigation right now, we can’t comment as to what type of drug was used, or even if a drug is used. Currently we’re investigating that and toxicology results from the victim have yet to be released,” said Curnew.
Police released a list of precautions for people in social settings in an effort to minimize the risk of assault.
These include tips such as socializing with friends, not leaving drinks unattended and seeking medical attention if feelings of intoxication are not in line with the amount of alcohol consumed.
If a person is drugged and sexually assaulted, they should get medical attention right away and not wash or change clothes before reporting the incident, as there may be evidence in clothes or on a person’s body, said police.
They also advise taking a urine sample that could later be used to test for date-rape drugs.
The RNC is investigating the assaults, and is requesting anyone with information to contact police at 729-8000.