Police are now saying that an assault reported near Bear Creek High School last week was a violent sexual assault in a wooded area. 

“It’s concerning that it did happen close to a school,” said Const. Sarah Bamford.  “But it’s concerning that it’s happening in our community. We want to get the person who’s responsible for this, and we’re appealing to the public to help us in any way they can.”

Barrie Police launched a dedicated tip line, and they released a composite sketch of the suspect on Thursday.

Police say the assault happened just before 3 p.m. on Friday near Bear Creek Secondary School between Red Oak Drive and Farmstead Crescent.

Officers responded to the call and found the female victim with what police describe as serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.  She was taken to a local hospital.

Police say they searched the area where the alleged assault is believed to have happened but they were unable to find the suspect.

Bear Creek's school principal sent a letter home to parents on Monday morning describing the incident and suspect.   The letter also asked students and parents to be extra vigilant and use “main routes that are well-travelled, rather than taking shortcuts through deserted areas.”

“It’s every parent’s fear,” said Barrie resident Steve Pieroway.  “When you really think about it, we have to be really cautious about when we let our kids out, and where we let them go.  Even around the school, it’s dangerous, it’s ridiculous.”

Investigators hope that by releasing a composite sketch of the suspect, someone will be able to identify him.

The accused is described as being a white man, 40-years-old, with a thin, hollow face and a medium build.  He has a beard and was last seen wearing a dark-coloured plaid shirt, dark cargo pants, and a blue beanie-style hat.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers to leave an anonymous tip.

The dedicated tip line can be reached at 705-725-7025 ext. 2935.