Author: Carol

The Story of a Toronto-Based Company Providing Short-Term Rentals

The Story of a Toronto-Based Company Providing Short-Term Rentals

It was supposed to be a safe, affordable home for Ontarians with nowhere else to go. But inside, it was horrifying.

Over the past week, at least nine Canadian and U.S. victims have reported to local media – with more expected to follow – stories of sexual assault by a Toronto-based company named Haven House, which offers short-term rentals. In some cases, Haven House is operating in plain sight in rented properties across the city.

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All have been alleged to be victims of sexual assault. For almost a week, news organizations haven’t been able to find or verify any independent reporting on the issue or a story, by any media organization, outside of Canada.

In Canada, the Star and Global News have followed up on six of the nine cases, and we’ve been able to piece together a more complete picture of the situation:

Sophie and Sam: A pair of sisters who had both rented from Haven House during the summer, with Sam as manager. Then they started to fall in love. When they met each other in a hotel bar, they had sex, which led to a hotel and then to a bed. But then they returned to the house.

In our reporting, we learned that Sophie and Sam had gone out for a walk in the woods, where Sam took Sophie to his bedroom. Once there, he began to touch and try to make her perform oral sex. After that, he raped her. In police interviews, Sophie said Sam penetrated her vaginally.

The next day, Sophie said that she was “a little uncomfortable” with the idea of sex but that she agreed to have sex again, at Haven House, in their bedroom for $40 (U.S. dollars). She said she didn’t think she was too “silly” for the company to charge her for renting a room at a house.

Sophie said she didn’t want to report the crime because she wasn’t sure what police would do, and because she didn’t want the house to go to court. She said that in the house, she was “in complete control.”

Sam and Sam’s story had a different ending. Sam was arrested and charged with rape. But the Crown agreed to drop the charges and the family has started the process of legal challenge.

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