'I couldn't believe it': Family of teen girl attacked in Port Coquitlam raises concerns with investigation
PORT COQUITLAM -- The mother of a 14-year-old girl whose face was left bloodied and injured following an altercation involving four teenage boys outside a Port Coquitlam middle school is raising serious concerns about how the RCMP and the school district have handled the case so far.
A 13-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the incident on Jan. 10 outside Citadel Middle School and is facing potential charges of assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats.
The girl’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of her daughter, said it was nine days before an RCMP officer came to their home to discuss the case, despite repeated requests for information. She told CTV News Vancouver she thought the officer was going to take a statement from her daughter, something she said still hasn’t taken place. Instead, she said the officer kept suggesting she agree to a restorative justice program instead of pressing charges, and if not, her daughter was also at risk of being charged.
"I couldn’t believe it. It honestly left me speechless. It was so hard to hear," she said Wednesday. "I felt that if I didn’t sign these papers, and go this route where nobody gets charged, that would mean that my child would be getting charged and arrested for this incident."
The mother said her daughter was walking her two younger sisters home on Jan. 10, one of whom attends the middle school, when a group of boys began making lewd comments. She said one of the boys got in her daughter’s face, and she pushed him. She said that’s when another boy sprayed Febreze at her daughter and punched her in the face.
"She didn’t do anything to deserve that, and for her to be charged, and threatened to be charged, it was really hard," her mother said.
She shared recordings she made of two of her conversations with the officer. He can be heard referencing a video that the RCMP said they have obtained showing some of the incident, and at one point referred to her daughter as the "primary aggressor."
"I felt that he was putting all the blame on my daughter," she said.
The girl’s mother is also upset with the school and said her 11-year-old daughter has been too scared to attend due to the boys being there.
"These boys were able to come back Monday morning as if nothing happened," she said.
In an email to CTV, Coquitlam RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said, "I don’t think it would be appropriate to comment about the family’s concerns," adding the RCMP have invited them to come and speak to them in person.
The Coquitlam School District also denied an interview request, citing privacy reasons. The district’s assistant director of communications Ken Hoff said in an email: "The school and district have been involved and addressing the situation near Citadel Middle since it began." He added staff have been working with the RCMP, the families and students involved.
The RCMP have previously said more charges are possible in the case. The teen boy who was arrested has been released on conditions and will appear in court at a later date. Police also urged people not to jump to conclusions about what happened based on information on social media.