Burnaby man charged in lesbian assault

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A Burnaby man has been charged with the assault of two women in Vancouver last fall that the victims claimed was due to their sexual orientation.

The women were on a bus Sept. 18 when they kissed, which may have triggered a reaction in the male suspect, who had earlier boarded the bus in Burnaby, according to Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.

When they got off the bus at East Hastings Street and Commercial Drive, the suspect followed them then, without provocation, assaulted the women, punching one in the face.

Several people came to help the women and chased the suspect, who fled.

Photos of the suspect, taken from bus surveillance cameras, were published through Crime Stoppers which led to a number of tips helping Vancouver Police Department identify and arrest the suspect in November.

The allegation that the assault was due to the victims' sexual orientation is being reviewed by the VPD's Hate Crimes Unit.

Andrew Joseph Walko, 45, of Burnaby is charged with assault and assault causing bodily harm. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 17.

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