Police call for more witnesses to step forward
By: Jennifer Hughes
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are asking for more witnesses and possessors of evidence to come forward in the case of the 16-year-old girl who was gang raped at a rave party in British Columbia.
Photographs and videos of the attack have been circulating the internet for the past few weeks.
The young girl, who has remained anonymous for safety reasons, was gang raped by half a dozen men in a field behind the house which hosted a rave party in Pitt Meadows, B.C. on Sept. 10, reported CBC. The assault, which police believe was witnessed by up to a dozen people, was photographed and filmed by onlookers and later uploaded onto the internet.
Two arrests have already been made. A 16-year-old male, who could face child pornography charges for taking photos of the event and uploaded them onto Facebook, as well as an 18-year-old male, who is likely to be charged for sexual assault, were both arrested and later released as police and prosecutors considered the charges.
The photos and videos spread rapidly from Facebook onto the rest of the internet. Though the original postings have been removed, police stated that copies of the images have been downloaded and are still circulating around the internet, according to the The National Post.
“I don’t think those that have the actual photographs understand that in fact it’s an offence to possess those, and it’s also an offence to distribute them, because it is child pornography,” RCMP Inspector Derren Lench said, according to CBC.
According to The Toronto Sun, the young victim sought medical attention almost immediately after the attack and was reported by police as having been drugged. “We strongly have reason to believe that she was impaired by drugs, that she did not take these drugs willingly and that it was most likely GHB that affected this young victim,” The Globe and Mail reported RCMP spokesman Sgt. Peter Thiessen as saying at a news conference on Sept. 16.
The young victim “deserves a chance to heal without being re-victimized by the sharing or viewing of these photos,” Thiessen said.
Two witnesses of the event have since come forward to speak with investigators, stated CTV, but police are still urging other witnesses and people involved to step forward.
The young girl has started back to school and hopes to return to a normal life, a statement from her family, distributed by the RCMP, said.