MPs condemn 'disgusting' RCMP interrogation of youth reporting sex assault
Published Wednesday, May 15, 2019 12:20PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:01PM EDT
Warning: This story may be distressing to some readers.
OTTAWA – MPs on both sides of the House of Commons are condemning a newly-released video that shows a Kelowna RCMP officer questioning an under-aged Indigenous teen who was reporting a sexual assault, asking her questions such as "were you turned on during this at all, even a little bit?"
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett was the first to express outrage, telling reporters on her way into a caucus meeting on Wednesday that it was: "totally inappropriate and I don't know where people get that kind of right to re-victimize somebody, it's disgusting.”
The video is from 2012, but was published and first reported on by APTN News earlier this week after it was released in relation to a civil lawsuit against the B.C. Ministry of Child and Family Development.
The more-than-two-hour-long footage of the interview with the alleged victim shows the male officer questioning the unidentified young woman after she reported a sexual assault while in the care of British Columbia's child welfare system, according to APTN News.
"Physically you weren’t at all responsive to his advances? Even maybe subconsciously?" the RCMP officer asks.
According to APTN News, the man alleged to have assaulted her was never charged.
The story was the first issue Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer raised during question period, asking Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale what steps are being taken to make sure that behaviour does not happen again.
Scheer said that he hopes he was speaking on behalf of all MPs in saying he was “shocked and horrified” by the video.
"Obviously this line of questioning was appalling and insensitive to the young woman who was coming forward with her story," Scheer said.
In response, Goodale thanked him for the question and said that the behaviour revealed in the video was "absolutely abhorrent."
"The apparent attitudes and techniques that were on display in 2012 are profoundly outdated, offensive, and wrong. The RCMP and all police forces must work continuously to conduct themselves appropriately. No survivor of sexual assault should ever fear that their case will not be taken seriously or that they will be re-victimized in the process," Goodale said to a standing ovation on both sides of the House.
In reference to this matter, Bennett said earlier in the day that the need for judicial training is becoming "increasingly important."
B.C. NDP MP Nathan Cullen has called for an investigation and said the officer should be reprimanded. "I don't understand how this happens," he tweeted.