Toronto police have charged a man with voyeurism after he allegedly secretly recorded women in TTC facilities and passengers on TTC vehicles during the summer.
Previously he was charged with possession of child pornography and access to child pornography. As part of this investigation, on Oct. 1, police executed a search warrant in the Greenwood Avenue and Gerrard Street East area. From the gathered evidence and examination of the seized electronic devices, three weeks later, police have laid additional charges of voyeurism.
Bryan Johnson, 40, appeared in court at Old City Hall on Friday.
In a statement to the Toronto Observer, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said that safety is their top priority.
“Despicable acts that compromise the safety or well-being of our customers and employees are absolutely unacceptable,” he wrote Friday. “As always, we will provide police with whatever assistance they need from us in the course of their investigation.”
Police say they are concerned that there may be more victims and ask anyone with information to contact them at 416-808-8500.
Stephen Sauer, director of Cybertip.ca, said the public needs to be cautious of strange and suspicious behaviours.
“Anytime you’re concerned about the interactions of an adult with the child, it is important to step forward and make a report about the concerning behaviour,” he said. “No matter if you think it is illegal or not.”
This advice is something that Andrea Webster, a survivor of sexual harassment, strongly agrees with. She has been a TTC passenger her whole life and has experienced sexual harassment on the subway multiple times. The first time was when Webster was 10 years old. She was on a subway with her mother and a well-dressed man exposed himself to her.
“I had never seen that, and I was so shocked,” said Webster, 47, in an interview. “I didn’t tell my mom until we got off the train, and she was so angry because I was a child.”
At the time, Webster’s family didn’t report the man.
“I’m 47 years old now, and I’ve been around the block a few times. So a lot of these experiences have made me fiercely protective of women and young girls and kids in general, especially in public,” said Webster, who works as an administrative assistant at Ryerson University.
Before the pandemic started, Webster witnessed a situation on the subway when a man in his sixties approached two teenaged girls. They were about 15 or 16 years old.
“I could tell that they were uncomfortable,” she said. “He was clearly enjoying this. He kept saying things like, ‘Oh, I’m not a dirty old man, but you girls are so beautiful.'”
Webster said that she didn’t intervene in the situation as the man never crossed the line. However, she kept moving closer to these girls, up to the point where the man could see her clearly facing him.
“He noticed me and then he said, ‘I’ll let you girls get on with your day,'” Webster recalled. “I don’t think he would have left if he had not noticed me.”
She said that people don’t need to necessarily intervene or say anything. Just moving closer and letting someone know that you are there for them can make a difference.
“Try to remember that there are people that are willing to help,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to make a scene because they’re counting on the fact that you’re scared, that you won’t make a scene.”
Webster mentioned that due to social distancing it might be the safest time to take the subway, but it won’t last forever.
“This is just shit that we have to deal with until men start behaving themselves,” Webster said.