The victim of an alleged gang rape at an outdoor rave in B.C. is appealing for witnesses to come forward after charges in the case were stayed, CBC's Chris Brown reports
A young woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted at a notorious Pitt Meadows, B.C., rave is urging witnesses to come forward.
At a media conference Wednesday afternoon the teen, who cannot be named, said a code of silence is preventing witnesses from speaking up.
"Please come forward," she said. "It would mean the world.
"There's no doubt in my mind that what happened to me on the night of September 11th was a sexual assault. No one in their right state of mind, including myself, would let something like that happen to them willingly," she said.
The girl, who was 16 when the alleged offences occurred, said she understands why some women decline to come forward when they've been attacked.
"I've often wondered why women never reported when they were sexually assaulted and now I know. It's a 'he said, she said' thing," the teen said.
Her father, who accompanied her to the news conference, also urged witnesses to speak up. "This is your time to do what's right. Don't be afraid from peer pressure," he said.
Charges stayed Tuesday
The girl's statement comes after Crown prosecutors stayed charges Tuesday against Colton McMorris, 19, the only man accused of sexual assault in the incident. McMorris's lawyer said the Crown admitted it did not have strong enough evidence against his client to proceed with a trial.
The young woman, who was 16 at the time of the alleged assault, said she was devastated the charges were stayed. She insisted she was assaulted and said witnesses are covering it up.
Police support her version of what occurred.
"Make no mistake — this girl was raped," RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said Wednesday. "I can assure you, knowing the content of these photos, it was not exaggerated what happened to this girl. Absolutely not."
When charges against an accused are stayed, the Crown retains the option of laying the charges again within 12 months if more evidence comes to light.
When told of the Thiessen's statements, McMorris's lawyer, Tony Serka, reacted angrily.
"The police appear to be trying to hijack a person's right to a fair trial," Serka said.
Police said during their initial investigation that she had been drugged and that as many as half a dozen men may have been involved in the assault.
After McMorris was charged in January, the alleged victim released a statement through police, calling the incident and the aftermath a "terrible ordeal."
A young offender who posted pictures of the incident — described at the time as a gang rape — on Facebook was sentenced to one year's probation in January.
Another man, Dennis John Allen Warrington, 19, has been charged with distributing child pornography.