Nova Scotia mother says teen daughter killed herself after sex assault, bullying - Macleans.ca
 

Nova Scotia mother says teen daughter killed herself after sex assault, bullying


 

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s Justice Department is looking for ways to review a grieving mother’s questions about the RCMP’s handling of her daughter’s allegations of sexual assault, an incident the girl’s mother says led to the teenager’s suicide.

After initially saying there would not be a review, Justice Minister Ross Landry changed his position late Tuesday night, asking his department to present him with options for a review.

Leah Parsons spoke out Tuesday about the case of her 17-year-old daughter, Rehtaeh, who was pulled off life-support Sunday night after she hanged herself last week.

Parsons said she is dissatisfied that the RCMP concluded there were no grounds to charge four boys over allegations they sexually assaulted Rehtaeh about 18 months ago.

In a statement, Landry says he hopes to meet with Rehtaeh’s mother to discuss her experience with the justice system.

“This situation is tragic, I am deeply saddened — as I think are all Nova Scotians — by the death of this young woman,” he said in the statement.

“I know that law enforcement and the public prosecution service do their best, every day, to administer and enforce the law,” he added. “It’s important that Nova Scotians have faith in the justice system and I am committed to exploring the mechanisms that exist to review the actions of all relevant authorities to ensure the system is always working to the best of its ability, in pursuit of justice.”

Landry expects senior officials to present him with options to conduct a review of the case within the next few days.

Earlier, Landry backed the RCMP’s handling of the case, saying: “In regards to the issue of second-guessing the police at every case, no, I’m not going to do that.”

After Rehtaeh’s story first surfaced in the Tuesday edition of the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Parsons told several news outlets that she believes the justice system failed her child.

She said her daughter’s life took a turn when she was 15, after she was sexually assaulted by four boys at a home in November 2011. She said one of the boys took a photo of the alleged assault, and her daughter was subjected to bullying afterward as a result.

“They told the story that Rehtaeh had sex with them all,” Parsons told News 95.7.

“So everybody turned against Rehtaeh and she was a ‘slut’ and she was the one that they targeted.”

Parsons could not be reached for further comment.

The police launched a year-long investigation into the allegation but did not lay charges, Parsons said.

RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae said the Mounties and Halifax Regional Police launched a joint investigation in November 2011 into a report of a sexual assault and an inappropriate photo. He declined to name the alleged victim or talk specifically about the case, citing privacy concerns.

“That investigation was completed and in consultation with the Crown, there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges,” MacRae said Tuesday.

He also confirmed police were investigating a “sudden death involving a young person” but declined to name the youth involved.

A Facebook page has been set up in tribute to Rehtaeh’s life, featuring dozens of photos of the smiling, bespectacled brunette, often with a dog by her side.

One photo shows a young Rehtaeh nuzzling a dolphin. Another shows her playing on a sandy beach as a youngster. A more recent snap captures Rehtaeh playfully sticking her pierced tongue out at the camera.

Hundreds of comments were posted on the page demanding someone be held accountable for Rehtaeh’s death.

“What is wrong with our society when a girl/woman is victimized and SHE is shunned!!” said one post.

Another user said young people must be protected from bullying to prevent similar tragedies.

“Clearly the justice system failed her, society failed her, the school system failed her, the mental health system failed her,” said another.


 
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Nova Scotia mother says teen daughter killed herself after sex assault, bullying

  1. It is nearly certain, without so much as a trial, that at least one of the four boys accused of rape is guilty of taking and circulating a criminal photo, a crime not far removed from the crime of rape itself. What do the police have to say about that? Given the information, published elsewhere, that the photo shows the young victim throwing up drunk while being assaulted, we can also assume a rape was taking place. This can be assumed because one cannot consent to consensual sex when one is drunk. Also likely is that the perpetrators were drunk. This also indicates rape. Should it be illegal to drive a motor vehicle while drunk but not illegal to impose your drunk judgement/ body upon someone else in a fashion such as the perpetrator’s bragged about when circulating the photo? The photograph that resulted in bullying should have instead resulted in a sincere and careful investigation which, coupled with ongoing demands of concerned citizens, might have resulted in conviction, at the least, or appropriate rehabilitation of the perpetrators, at the most. Instead, the photograph led to denial, blame, and further abuse of the victim known as bullying. Our entire cultural treatment of girls and women needs to be held accountable for this tragic, tragic loss. With at least 25% of all girls/women experiencing rape in their lifetime, most of them by “friends” or acquaintances, the denial needs to stop. The loss of Rehtaeh is a tragic loss that affects all humanity. My heart goes out to her family who, knowing Rehtaeh most fully and accurately, will certainly shoulder this burden.

    • Your statistic of 25% of women experiencing rape is impossible.

      • It;s actually a bit higher since most statistics only take in the rapes that are reported. There are far more that are not reported.

  2. If people under strong and well-founded suspicion of rape could simply be locked up indefinitely until the police were satisfied with their ability to convict them, this specific case could have been prevented. The Charter of Rights is not a suicide pact, and it’s time we should take rape as seriously as the U.S., in Guantanamo Bay, takes terrorism.

  3. I don’t understand why the picture that was posted hasn’t been traced back to a user account or IP address and what about the content of the picture with the one of the boys in the picture? Is there no evidence there of an identity or anything? Granted that all DNA evidence is out but there must be something; These type of kids tend to bragg and should be known by most of those kids in school. No one has stepped forward at all? Reprehensable!

  4. Or was it a picture on a phone…thought I read it was posted but still electronic tracing is more possible on a smart phone. Pull the phones of every boy in that school and go to deleted files. You may delete but its still traceable on the phone sim card or ram chip..

  5. Do the police know things the grieving parents don’t?

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