Police disgusted by photo sharing of rave gang-rape
Published Thursday, September 16, 2010 2:33PM PDT
The gang rape of a 16-year-old girl and the subsequent posting of graphic pictures of it on the internet have led one police investigator to call it a "morally disgusting" and "appalling" case.
The teenager was allegedly assaulted at "Another Night in Bangkok," a party held on a residential acreage at 12993 Harris Rd. in Pitt Meadows on Friday night.
Maple Ridge RCMP say the teenage victim attended a rave with several hundred other people, both youths and adults, some time between Friday night and Saturday morning. Police say that at some point she was given a "date rape" drug that left her unconscious. She was then taken from the house where the party was held and raped in a field by several teenagers.
Several people watched as the drugged girl was repeatedly raped and at least one of them took photographs, which were posted on sites like Facebook, according to police. Police were shocked by several posted comments that suggested the gang rape was consensual.
"I have never ever seen anything like it," Cpl. Jennifer Hyland told a Thursday morning press conference. "It's disgusting. I'm not saying it's not happened before, but morally, in this community, the comments that are being said about his victim and the insinuations that are being made…when we have the physical and medical evidence about the injuries this girls suffered…it's disgusting to read what these youth are posting and even more disgusting that the photos are being shared and put onto more sites. I've never seen anything like it."
Police say the traumatized victim is "not well," hasn't attended school, and has had to return to the doctor since the attack. Hyland said the type of drug she was given will be known in a few weeks. However, many date rape drugs dissolve in the system rapidly, which can make detection of any drug difficult.
Hyland said the girl had friends at the party, but they had lost sight of her.
"There were both adults and youth present at this party," said Hyland. "Five to seven is the number that we've been given so far, that witnessed, took part, or at least observed all or a portion of this sexual assault."
A 16-year-old youth has been arrested and police are recommending charges of production of child pornography.
The youth allegedly took photographs and distributed them. Police say it's unclear as to whether the youth who's been charged was also involved in the attack.
Police called the press conference in part to try to curtail the dissemination of the photos, which they described as "graphic."
"We'll be really clear," said Hyland. "Child pornography is the depiction of anybody under 18 years old where the primary purpose of the photo is a sex act or to show the genitalia of the person in the photo. In this case our victim is 16 years old. This is child pornography. Period. There is no confusion or discussion about what this is. She is not 18. The pictures are graphic. And they are sexual. And they are disgusting. There is no confusion here," said Hyland.
She said many youths contacted by police were uncooperative when asked to stop distribution of the photos. They continue to be distributed through social networking sites such as Facebook, and on Blackberrys and iPhones.
Hyland explained that anyone in possession of any of the photos who sends them to someone else could be criminally charged.
"One of the reasons we called this press conference is we cannot contact the numbers of people doing it. It is spreading like wildfire. And our attempt to stop this and this victim from reliving this and being victimized… it's just getting worse. The more we tell people to take it off, the more they post it.
"It is a morally disgusting act to post such graphic, private pictures of anybody on the network," Hyland said. "We've received phone calls from parents who are traumatized because their young children, pre-teen age children, were shown these graphic photos and came home crying to their parents, because they'd seen something so appalling.
"It's disgusting. What does anybody get out of looking at these photos? Anybody who does it is appalling."