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RCMP apologizes for failure to investigate sex assault; B.C. survivor said she lived in 'state of fear' for years

A B.C. woman (left) who was sexually assaulted in White Rock in 2015 and waited years to be taken seriously by the RCMP sits down for an interview with CTV News reporter Alissa Thibault. A B.C. woman (left) who was sexually assaulted in White Rock in 2015 and waited years to be taken seriously by the RCMP sits down for an interview with CTV News reporter Alissa Thibault.

Warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some

A B.C. woman who says she was sexually assaulted by a stranger in her apartment is speaking out after spending years fighting to be taken seriously by the RCMP.

CTV News has agreed to only identify the woman as Caitlin.

Caitlin said she was woken up around 5 a.m. one day in 2015 to a stranger entering her White Rock home. The man walked toward her and stood at the foot of her bed, she said in an interview with CTV News Thursday.

“I thought I literally was dreaming, I did not know what was going on,” Caitlin said. “He’s just yelling and making no sense. My heart was pounding and I felt like everything had stopped, but was moving so fast at the same time. It was a bizarre feeling.”

Caitlin said she tried to escape, but the man grabbed her three times.

“I kind of get his arms off and then he just grabs me again and he tries to kiss me again. He did kiss my cheek and it was just disgusting. He was sweaty and gross,” she said.

She said she ran to her neighbour’s front door and called 911, but the man followed.

“He didn’t go away, he started actually to try to break (the door) down,” she told CTV News. “He said something to the (effect of), 'I’m going to rape you.' There was the word 'rape.'”

RCMP officers arrived and the man was arrested inside Caitlin’s apartment, she said.

The subsequent actions of the attending officer and the failure to investigate the incident have been documented in reports by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, and reviewed by RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. The final report on the 2015 attack was submitted on July 8, 2021.

The man was released without charge hours after being taken into custody.

According to the report, Caitlin said an officer with the White Rock detachment told her over the phone, “(the man) did not remember anything about the incident and felt bad when he learned about his behaviour, and that he had a good job and no history of similar incidents.”

Caitlin was then referred to victim services.

“Victim services told me I needed to have a 'go bag' ready in the event he came back,” Caitlin said. “I lived in that state of fear that he would come back for years.”

After the man’s release, no further action was taken on Caitlin’s case. It wasn’t until two years later that she requested a copy of the original police report to understand why no charges were laid. It classed the offence as a “disturbance” with a violation of “unforced entry.” There was no mentioned of a sexual assault.

According to the commission’s 2021 report, the attending officer, Const. Kan, “neglected to thoroughly investigate the break and enter complaint” and that he “unreasonably decided not to recommend criminal charges.” The report said Kan’s decision was based upon his own determination that there was no sign of forced entry, concluding Caitlin had left her door unlocked.

Caitlin’s case was reopened and charges of break and enter and sexual assault were recommended. However, there was no evidence to support a conviction, and no documentation from the original incident to indicate a crime had occurred.

“All the tangible evidence was gone - no fingerprints, no statements, there was no statements from the original call, the 911 files had been destroyed because of how they labelled the case,” Caitlin said.

Caitlin’s alleged attacker was left to go free, and she was only offered an apology by the RCMP. The report stated, “The Commission is satisfied that by apologizing to (Caitlin), the RCMP recognized the impact that the neglect to investigate thoroughly had on (Caitlin).”

In November, Caitlin saw her attacker in Langley, triggering her. Three weeks later, she read about a sexual assault victim in Kelowna who was also ignored by the RCMP.

“I see this article of this woman in Kelowna and I was like, 'You have to be kidding me',” Caitlin said.

She believes more should be done to help victims navigate the complicated reporting system when filing a complaint with RCMP.

“It’s just dehumanizing because all of these people who were involved just get to carry on with their life and the victims, or survivors, are just left,” she said.

“The least (the RCMP) could do is pay for my therapy." Top Stories

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