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Teen girl sexually assaulted at party: Posting photos will be treated as criminal activity

RCMP hopes to avoid a repeat of Rehtaeh Parsons' tragic story.

Teen girl raped at party

After a 17-year-old BC girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at a party, the RCMP is hoping to break a tragic trend, in which social media makes an already-intolerable situation even worse for the victim and her family.

Those who witnessed the attack, which allegedly took place at a party in Barnhartvale, are advised that any photos taken during the incident and posted to social media will be treated by law enforcement as chld pornography.

Basically, the only thing you should be doing with such footage is giving it to law enforcement: use your phonecam for good and not for evil.

Tragic precedent

Fresh in the RCMP's mind would be the rape and subsequent suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons, whose attack was photographed by the boys who carried it out. The subsequent bullying and slander caused Parsons to attempt to hang herself to death: she was taken off life support a few days later.

Closer to home, the Kamloops RCMP is hoping to avoid a repeat of what happened after a 16-year-old Pitt Meadows girl was raped in 2011. Photos of the incident were shared on Facebook, and an 18-year-old witness was prosecuted for sharing the photos he took.

Kamloops RCMP media officer Cpl. Cheryl Bush writes,

"A report was received on the morning of June 19th that a 17 year old female had gone home from the party and reported the incident to her parents, who then took her to Royal Inland Hospital and notified police. It was reported that she had become separated from her friends, and was approached by a male unknown to her, who eventually took her into the bush area and sexually assaulted her. The female was able to make a cell phone call to get picked up from the party and police were contacted later.

"As this event strongly resembles recent cases that have been largely publicized, RCMP investigators believe there are individuals who witnessed what took place and have photographs of the incident. We want to see this case unfold differently for this victim, compared to what has happened in the past. Such photographs would be evidence to a criminal act, which must be turned over to authorities, rather than be posted or distributed.  Police will investigate any instances of these photographs being mishandled, which could result in charges of making, possessing or distributing child pornography.  These offences could carry maximum sentences of up to ten years imprisonment."

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