Jenique Dalcourt homicide: Woman says she was attacked in same area 2 days earlier
Longueuil police defend investigation after Carole Thomas says her attack not taken seriously
A Montreal woman said she was sexually assaulted by an unknown assailant in Longueuil, in the same area where Jenique Dalcourt was killed two days later.
Carole Thomas told CBC Daybreak she is speaking out about what happened to her because she believes the police did not take her case seriously.
Longueuil police are defending how they handled the investigation, saying their current assessment is that they followed procedure.
"If it was handled wrongly, we will take the corrective measures. But I can say... all the steps, from the onset of the complaint to the rape kit, everything was done properly," said Cpt. Nancy Colagiacomo.
"She was taken charge of, our investigators accompanied her in all the steps. Everything was explained to her."
Longueuil Mayor Caroline St-Hilaire says she wants answers about police handling of the allegation and is asking for a report.
"If corrections have to be made to the complaints process, they will be established as soon as possible in order to better support victims," said a news release from City of Longueuil.
Last October, the body of 23-year-old Dalcourt was found beaten to death along a bike path in an Old Longueuil park. According to Radio-Canada’s police sources, she had been sexually assaulted.
Thomas said just two days before that, she had been walking from a bus stop to l'Institut de théologie pour la francophonie, a theological school on Industrial Park Street.
The single mother said a man got out of a car and headed towards her.
"He tossed me over his shoulder like I was a sack of potatoes. He threw me into the back seat and threw himself on top of me," she said. "He was very heavy, like a brick on top of my body."
He tossed me over his shoulder like I was a sack of potatoes.- Carole Thomas
She alleged the man muffled her screams for help while he hit and violated her for more than 20 minutes.
Then, she said, he put on his pants, tossed her hers and threw her out of the car "like a piece of garbage."
She said she returned home to her daughter in a state of shock. The next morning, she went to a Montreal police station near her work. They transferred the case to Longueuil police, where she said she was asked a series of inappropriate questions about the perpetrator’s penis.
She said the police told her they would call her back so they could get a sketch done of the suspect, but that they never called.
Thomas told CBC News on Wednesday she felt the investigators handling her case did not believe her story.
"If I was dead, yeah they would have believed me," Thomas said.
Colagiacomo said that she could not divulge details of the ongoing investigation.
She did, however, say there were questions about Thomas' story.
"Definitely there were some grey lines in this whole investigation in terms of different elements that were reported to police investigations. [There were] different versions and details from the witness in this case," said Colagiacomo.
Earlier on Wednesday, she told CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty that she was recently informed her rape kit was sent to provincial police for testing two months after the attack.
Const. Tommy Lacroix of Longueuil police confirmed his force received a complaint and that the file is still open, but he would not comment further.
"It’s not normal. It’s not normal because in a sexual assault case there should be a precious link between investigators and the victim. If investigators beleive the victm is not credible, they are obliged to tell her why they think that.”
Doré also said it should never take two or three months to work up a composite sketch of a suspect in a sexual assault case.
Nathalie Duhamel, a coordinator with the Coalition of Quebec Sexual Assault Support Centres (RQCALAC), said Longueuil police could have handled Thomas's file better, especially after Jenique Dalcourt was killed in the same vicinity.
"It's a disappointment to hear about a woman who went to police, went through the rape kit and still did not get any response," Duhamel said.
She's not surprised, however. She said many women who are raped often feel as though they're not believed.
"We know that 75 per cent of women do not lodge a complaint. We know that it's because they feel they're not believed. They also feel that the process is long and they have to repeat their story at many levels of the process, and once they do go to court, sentencing is not very satisfactory," Duhamel said.
Connection to Jenique Dalcourt homicide?
Thomas said she didn't understand what she perceived to be reticence on the part of police to connect her Oct. 20 rape to Jenique Dalcourt's death on Oct. 22.
"I thought that it could have been me. These two secluded places were less than two kilometres apart," Thomas said. "That [leads to] concerns, serious concerns. For me, it’s a total blank. I just truly don’t understand why Longueuil felt that they had to keep this from the public."