Alleged rape victim 'trying to make sense' of arrest

An 18-year-old woman who claims she was drugged and raped in a west Edmonton motel earlier this month says she is still trying to understand how she ended up in jail instead of a hospital.

Edmonton police to launch internal investigation into arrest of 18-year-old woman

An 18-year-old woman who claims she was drugged and raped in a west Edmonton motel earlier this month says she is still trying to understand how she ended up in jail instead of a hospital.

"I’m trying to make sense of all of it. But I don’t know how I got myself into this situation. I keep trying to figure that out," the woman told CBC News Monday.

The woman called her mother at about 10 p.m. on Feb. 17, from a west-end motel room where she had been drinking with a group of people. 

"She was telling me they won't let her leave," her mother told CBC News. " I kept telling her, just walk out the door and leave.  She said they won't let me leave.  I go like, 'Who's they?' She said. 'I can't say.'  So she wouldn't say any names or anything."

Her mother called 911.

When police responded, they ran the woman's name and found an outstanding warrant stemming from a minor assault charge on which she was convicted as a youth.

Police arrested her.

Woman doesn't remember any details

The woman, who believes she had been drugged, said she doesn’t remember any details of the attack or being taken into custody.

"[I remember] waking up in the cells … not remembering anything," she said. "I knew that something bad had happened to me."

She was sore, bleeding and missing a tooth, she said.

After arriving at the Edmonton Remand Centre she said she asked staff to see a doctor, but was told her they "were busy" and that the more she asked, the longer it would take.

She told CBC News that despite her injuries, she wasn’t given any medication for her pain. She also says she was told that "the phones were busy" when she asked to call a lawyer.

24 hours without medical exam

The woman said she spent over 24 hours in remand without medical treatment, access to a shower or even a mattress to sleep on.

It wasn’t until late Monday night that she was seen by a nurse and taken to hospital.

"She asked me what happened to my face … I told her I didn’t remember anything and that I was bleeding and I wanted a rape kit to be done."

Her lawyer said that while the hospital examination confirmed the woman had been sexually assaulted, she was immediately returned to  the remand centre.

"It's shameful ... if you're the victim of a sexual assault," said Parm Johal. "We have an 18 year old who's never seen the inside of a correctional facility sleep for five days on the floor of a remand centre. 

"I think it's appalling and we should be ashamed as a community, as a society, that this is happening in Alberta , in Canada ."

Police defend handling of case 

Edmonton police say when officers responded to the 911 call,  they were never told the woman had been sexually assaulted.

"We've had an opportunity to review the facts based on what was given to the police service at the time," he told reporters Monday. "We're satisfied — more than satisfied with the actions taken by the officers."

While the teen doesn’t remember receiving medical treatment, EPS deputy chief Brian Simpson said paramedics examined her before she was taken into custody.

"The officers contacted emergency medical services to check on the woman for injuries," he said. "EMS treated the woman at the scene. However there was no report of sexual assault at that time by her."

Simpson said the teen didn’t report the sexual assault until she was in the remand centre.

Police began investigating when the rape kit was done early Tuesday.

Simpson added that the police have started an internal inquiry about the case.

Evidence destroyed, woman says 

The woman is relieved someone is looking into what happened, but said it should not have taken this long.

"Not a week later," she said.

She worries that the delay not only caused her pain, but that it caused evidence to be destroyed.

She said when she went to the hospital to be examined, she was made to throw out the pants she had been wearing.

"I wasn’t going to leave the hospital with stained pants. They were bloody and they made me throw them away."

She said she's angry, believing the justice system let her down.

She wants others to know her story, in the hopes that officials will react differently next time someone reports a sexual assault, she said. 

"I want something to be done about how I was treated. So it doesn't happen to anyone else."

With files from CBC's Janice Johnston