British Columbia

High school student in Surrey, B.C., found guilty of sexual assault

A male student at a Surrey high school accused of groping or restraining five female students has been found guilty of sexually assaulting and touching one of them.

5 girls at the school testified the older male student groped and restrained them

A Surrey Provincial Court judge acquitted the boy on 10 of the 12 charges. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

A male student at a Surrey high school accused of groping or restraining five female students has been found guilty of sexually assaulting and touching one of them.

The five complainants, who were all in grades eight and nine at the time of the allegations during the 2016 and 2017 school years, testified the male student restrained them and refused to stop when they asked him to.

Four of them alleged the boy grabbed or groped their buttocks and chest, sometimes reaching underneath their clothes.

A Surrey Provincial Court judge acquitted the boy on 10 of the 12 charges, including two involving a sixth complainant. The Crown did not present evidence in her case.

The two counts on which he was convicted involved the same girl.

The student is not named because he was a minor at the time of the offences. He is referred to as D. in the judge's decision.

"Each of the complainants described D. as a popular student who was well known throughout the school and was something of a jokester and class clown," wrote Judge Mark Jetté.

Snapchat correspondence

The Crown noted similarities in the complainants.

Most of the girls were two years younger than the Grade 10 student and new to the high school, which is not named. All of them were acquaintances with D. but not part of the same friend group.

Several of them testified that they corresponded with D. through Snapchat before the assaults.

One girl alleged that D. asked for her password to a private Snapchat file called "My Eyes Only," but she declined.

She recalled an incident the next year in which D. snatched her phone and ran out of the school. When she tried to get it back, D. stuck his hand under her shirt and demanded that she give him her Snapchat password.

The girl eventually retrieved the phone and walked away. The accused allegedly later sent her a message on Snapchat apologizing for touching her.

'Just let me do this'

The judge dismissed the defence's argument that the girls colluded with one another.

But he noted inconsistencies between some of their police statements and court testimony and ruled that four of the cases did not offer proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

He ruled in favour of one complainant, who testified that she was 13 years old and in Grade 8 when the boy invited her to his house for lunch. Once there, the boy made her lie down on a couch and pinned her back while trying to kiss her.

She testified the boy said "just let me do this" and "this is I what I want from you" as she yelled for him to stop. The assault ended when the girl said she going to be late for her next class.

A few months later, the two were walking in a forested area when the boy tried to kiss her. He then put his hand under the girl's shirt and caressed her breasts, despite her objections. The girl pushed him away and walked home alone.

The judge found that the girl did not consent to the touching during either incident.

The boy will be sentenced in Surrey Provincial Court on Jan. 24, 2020.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Migdal

Journalist

Alex Migdal is a journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. He's previously reported for The Globe and Mail, Guelph Mercury and Edmonton Journal. You can reach him at alex.migdal@cbc.ca.

now