Review of West Kelowna teen's 2012 RCMP complaint underway - InfoNews

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Review of West Kelowna teen's 2012 RCMP complaint underway

June 02, 2019 - 10:12 AM

KELOWNA - A review of a controversial 2012 West Kelowna RCMP investigation is underway after a public outcry last month.

Last month, Jane Smith came forward to the media to state that her rape complaint was ignored and trivialized by the West Kelowna RCMP in 2012. A video of her interview with the police sparked outrage over the officer's questions.

“Were you turned on at all by this at all … even a little bit,” the West Kelowna RCMP officer asked.

“No,” she said.

“Physically you weren’t at all responsive to his advances … even maybe subconsciously,” he asked.

“No, I was really scared,” she said.

“OK because you understand that when a guy tries to have sex with a female and the female is completely unwilling it is very difficult,” he said.

That exchange made the story go viral. Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, commanding officer for the B.C. RCMP, released a response to the controversy on June 1, confirming that a fulsome review of the 2012 investigation is underway.

In the press release Strachan said the RCMP is limited in their ability to comment on the case due to restrictions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, Privacy Act, civil litigation proceedings, and an ongoing Criminal Code investigation. However, she said the RCMP has heard the concerns raised by citizens and agrees that, on the surface, this case doesn't appear to align with public expectations or standards and practices regarding the treatment of sexual assault investigations and victims.

"We also recognize that a negative experience with police investigators can bring more trauma to victims, and discourage others from reporting these crimes," she said in the release.

Strachan said training new officers about sexual assault investigations, along with implementing a new external review model in the coming months, are key priorities for the RCMP.

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