British Columbia

Woman sues RCMP officer who asked if she was 'at all turned on' during sexual assault

An Indigenous woman who was interrogated by a Kelowna RCMP officer in March, 2012, after reporting reporting a sexual assault, is now suing the officer.

Lawsuit alleges interview was a 'reckless misogynistic and arrogant departure' from expected standard

This still taken from video shows a male RCMP officer interviewing an Indigenous teenager who complained about a sexual assault in May 2012. The woman, now 24, has filed a lawsuit against the officer. (RCMP)

An Indigenous woman is suing a B.C. RCMP officer she says interrogated her in March 2012 when she reported a sexual assault. 

A video of the interview was made public in May, in which the officer is heard asking the woman whether she was "at all turned on" by the alleged sexual assault. The contents of the video drew condemnation from members of Parliament and a review by the RCMP.  

The woman, who is not being identified because she was 17 at the time of the interview, is suing Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Kenneth Hall, the Attorney General of Canada and B.C.'s Minister of Justice.

In her notice of civil claim, the woman alleges the two-hour interview was demeaning, insulting and abusive.

She claims Hall's questioning "was a reckless misogynistic and arrogant departure from the standard expected of a professionally trained RCMP member."

The woman says she participated in the interview because she was under the impression she was there to report a serious sexual assault, but she was treated as a suspect for public mischief, and she claims Hall and others "used the degrading, malicious interrogation as a punishment."

Seeking damages

The video of the 2012 investigation was released as part of disclosure in an ongoing civil claim involving a Kelowna social worker. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the contents of the video "abhorrent," and earlier this month the RCMP ordered a review.

In the documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court, the woman claims she has suffered consequences stemming from the interview, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, nervous shock, insomnia and nightmares and a suicide attempt.

She's seeking a range of damages. Her claims have not been tested in court.

Hall and the other defendants have not yet filed statements of defence in the case.

According to the RCMP, Hall is not doing media interviews.

An RCMP spokesperson responded to a request for comment from CBC News by referring to a statement issued by Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan earlier this month.

"We agree that on the surface this case doesn't appear to align with public expectations or the current standards and practices in place when addressing sex assault investigations and supporting victims," the statement read.


Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.ca

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

About the Author

Rafferty Baker is CBC Vancouver's mobile journalist. Follow him @raffertybaker