Suit filed for 2012 interview

An Indigenous West Kelowna woman is suing a Kelowna RCMP officer over an interrogation that followed her complaint of a sexual assault.

The March 2012 interview occurred when the woman was 17 and in ministry care. She came forward to report a sexual assault, but was met with a skeptical officer, who asked the teen if she had been “turned on during this at all.”

The video drew condemnation from Members of Parliament and First Nations leaders across Canada after it became public last month as a part of civil proceedings related to the Robert Saunders case, in which he is alleged to have stolen money from dozens of youth in his care.

The woman has now filed a civil lawsuit against Cpl. Kenneth Hall, the police officer that interrogated her, as well as the Attorney General of Canada and B.C. Minister of Justice.

“The malicious demeaning, insulting and abusive interrogation of the plaintiff by Hall was a reckless misogynistic and arrogant departure from the standard expected of a professionally trained RCMP member,” the lawsuit alleges.

The claim alleges the teen’s Charter rights were breached when Cpl. Hall interrogated her as a suspect for public mischief without a lawyer present or informing her of her reasons for detention. Her social worker, Siobhan Stynes, was also not present during the interview.

The court filings this week claim the teen has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and suicide attempts.

The lawsuit seeks a variety of damages.

“The actions of Hall, the RCMP were reckless, arrogant, high-handed and abusive and showed a callous disregard for the plaintiff’s rights,” the claim alleges.

None of the defendants have filed responses and none of the above allegations have been proven in court.

RCMP earlier this month said there would be a “fulsome review” of the incident.

“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,” said deputy RCMP commissioner Jennifer Strachan.

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