RCMP botched N.W.T. sex assault investigation, documents say
Internal report reveals police 'failed to conduct a thorough investigation into the complaint'
An internal RCMP investigation found police failed to properly investigate and lay charges in a 2012 sexual assault, according to documents obtained by the CBC.
The documents were released through an access to information request to the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP. The name of the complainant, the alleged victim and the Northwest Territories community in which the incident reportedly took place have all be redacted by the commission for privacy reasons.
A report done by Staff Sgt. Francis Cullen said the officers involved in the case "failed to conduct a thorough investigation into the complaint that [redacted] was sexually assaulted"
RCMP say no charges were ever laid in the case.
Complaint said police failed to investigate properly
The Northwest Territories has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the country. A number of recent high profile cases, including the trial of former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi, have put law enforcement and the courts' handling of these cases under greater scrutiny.
Cullen's report stems from a September 2012 incident in which a person was allegedly assaulted at an N.W.T. home. A complaint filed later that month by an unidentified person said police failed to properly investigate what happened that night.
In their report, the complainant said the alleged victim had been drinking and found refuge at a house. The alleged victim fell asleep and woke up naked, being fondled by somebody.
A third person in the house contacted the RCMP about the assault and the alleged victim was picked up by the police.
According to the two officers involved, the person refused to give a statement. The RCMP report says the officers offered to take the alleged victim to the "health centre for examination to determine if [redacted] was sexually assaulted."
However, Cullen wrote that the victim "did ask to go to the [redacted] Hospital for examination. The arrangement was not followed up by either investigators." The complainant stated that the officers brought the alleged victim home, not to the hospital.
The complainant stated the alleged victim did go to a hospital on their own and received several tests, however that is not mentioned in Cullen's report.
Officers received 'operation guidance'
"In a sexual assault investigation, some evidence must be collected without delay by medical professionals, or it will no be longer available," G Division spokesperson Cst. Elenore Sturko said in an email.
"In this case that evidence was not collected at the time and impacted the likelihood of confirming an offense occurred."
Separate documents obtained by the CBC in an access to information request to the RCMP state that both officers involved in the complaint received "operational guidance" as a result of their actions.