‘Were you turned on by this at all? Even a little bit?’: RCMP officer asks Indigenous youth during sexual assault report
- Category: Uncategorised
- Created: Monday, 13 May 2019 23:46
- Written by Holly Moore and Brittany Guyot - APTN News
Video obtained by APTN Investigates shows a Kelowna RCMP officer interviewing an under-aged Indigenous teen for more than two hours after she reported a sexual assault while in care of the B.C child welfare system.
APTN is protecting the victim’s identity.
The youth is left alone with male officers throughout the two and a half-hour video from March 2012 and when female workers from the ministry are present, they are not supporting her except to offer her a hamburger.
According to a recent interview with the woman, the alleged sexual assault by an acquaintance was first reported to the youth’s foster parent who took her to hospital.
Police briefly interviewed her and then she was brought into the West Kelowna RCMP detachment the next day for questioning with two ministry workers.
She said a male officer immediately took her into an interview room and started to barrage her with questions.
“I felt very alone in there,” she told APTN. “There was no parental support for me there at all. I was terrified.”
‘Were you at all turned on during this at all? Even a little bit?’ the officer said. “You understand that when a guy tries to have sex with a female and the female is completely unwilling it is very difficult.”
In one exchange, he appears to question how hard she tried to fight during the alleged assault.
“Go over again with me how did you try and get him to stop,” he said. “Did you scream ‘no’ did you say ‘get off me’, did you say ‘this was rape? I need you to stop?’”
“I don’t remember, tried to get my legs around him to try and get him to stop,” she said.
“Okay… um I don’t know how that would work, if he’s having intercourse with you and your legs are flat.” the constable answered.
At one point the constable asks the teen if she is lying and if she knows the “seriousness” of what she is reporting.
“Do you know what could happen to people who are accused of that?” he said. “They could go to prison for up to 14 years.”
“You do understand making a report to police that is false is a crime,” he added that, “it’s not something we joke around with just so you know.”
He also accuse the teen of lying to avoid getting in trouble with her foster parents.
“Is one of the reasons why you came up with this is because you thought you might be pregnant and you thought you might need the pill?” he said.
“It’s because I had just gotten taken advantage of and I didn’t consent to it,” she answers.
The officer asks the teen why she asked the alleged perpetrator to wear a condom during the attack
“Because I already knew it was going to happen and there was no escaping it,” she said to which he answered “what does that tell me about your level of consent and your level of denial?”
The officer also points out inconsistencies in her statements.
These included whether she told the alleged assailant “no” during the time when he was kissing her or when he was taking her clothes off.
He also asks her why she stayed in the assailant’s home and took the bus with him.
No charges were laid against the alleged perpetrator of the assault, something sadly unsurprising to the woman today.
“I think a lot of Aboriginal women can relate to this,” she said. “Maybe now that there is video evidence of how police treat victims something will be done about it.”
Punished for reporting assault
A statement of claim filed in March 2019 by the youth in the video claims she was punished for reporting that sexual assault.
Court documents obtained by APTN say social worker Siobhan Stynes, and the youth’s then-foster parents accused the youth of falsifying the incident “for an excuse for using drugs.”
It also alleges that “no meaningful investigations were carried out surrounding the circumstances of the sexual assault.”
The video was released as the result of a Notice of Application to disclose all investigation notes in a civil suit against the Ministry of Child and Family Development, social worker Riley Robert Saunders and supervisor Siobhan Stynes.
The lawsuits, including one class action, describe an alleged scheme where youth had joint bank accounts with Saunders and their funds were siphoned off, exposing the young people in care to homelessness, drugs and exploitation. The allegations have not been proven in court.
Watch: APTN Investigates reporter Cullen Crozier profiled some of the cases in Broken Trust.
APTN has reached out to the RCMP, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Robert Riley Saunders and Siobhan Stynes and has not heard back.
-with files from Cullen Crozier