Aden Withers (left) and Heather Friesen (right) during the protest of the Kelowna RCMP on Nov. 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna mayor to request RCMP’s ‘unfounded’ sexual assault report

RCMP said the report was completed over a month ago but have yet to release it or make a statement

More than a month after the Kelowna RCMP announced the completion of its internal review about the high number of sexual assaults that were deemed “unfounded” in 2018 and 2019, an update has yet to be given.

Now, following a brief protest in council chambers on Monday, the mayor said he will request the report himself.

The City of Kelowna and the local detachment came under fire in October 2019 after Kelowna Capital News revealed nearly 40 per cent of sexual assaults reported to police were deemed “unfounded.”

Subsequently, the RCMP launched an internal investigation into those numbers, the results of which are now in the hands of Kelowna Mounties.

“We have completed the review and are going through the results,” wrote RCMP Cst. Solana Pare in a Jan. 23 release. “When we have a full understanding of the results, we will provide an update which should be within the next few weeks.”

Those few weeks have now passed and Kelowna’s sexual assault survivors and allies are left waiting for answers.

“I’m embarrassed that this is what our city has become,” said survivor Heather Friesen after her demonstration in council chambers.

“It’s been over a month and we haven’t heard a word. Why? Because they have to put their spin on it.

“I want answers; I’m tired of waiting. Why (isn’t city council) asking for it? Why aren’t they protecting the citizens of Kelowna? Why aren’t they asking for answers for the city of Kelowna? Their silence is rape culture.”

Following the council meeting, Mayor Colin Basran confirmed he will request the report from the RCMP but until it is released there’s nothing he can say on the matter.

“Until we know the findings of the report, and until I see it, there isn’t really anything to talk about,” he said.

“Would I like to know the findings of that report? I would. And would I be willing to request the results of that? Yes, I would.”

The mayor said that a sexual assault unit within the Kelowna RCMP, as Friesen has been petitioning for, is a possibility if it’s recommended by the report.

Friesen said the mayor has ignored numerous requests for a one-on-one meeting. Basran denied the accusation and said he would gladly meet with her.

“That is completely false. The last time she requested a meeting, she was yelling at me at a public meeting at UBCO,” said Basran.

Kelowna Capital News’ requests for comment from the RCMP were not returned.

READ MORE: ‘Please be quiet,’ Kelowna Mayor tells sexual assault survivor protesting in council chambers

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP completes internal review of sexual assault cases deemed ‘unfounded’


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon women spending quarantine making masks

Group at Predator Ridge, and a colleague in Vernon, keeping busy making surgical masks for others

Second million-dollar lotto ticket sold in Vernon

Same thing happened on March 7; somebody won Guaranteed Match Number prize

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

WATCH: Coldstream producer treats neighbours to live music from safe distance

Neighbours practiced social distancing as Jeff Johnson played songs from his front steps

Sparkling Hill Resort donates produce to Vernon food bank, gloves to hospital

Operating manager says layoffs resulted in spare materials that are much needed amid COVID-19

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

No hesitation; two bystanders assist in South Okanagan house fire rescue

“I’d do it for anybody,” says Penticton man after assisting in house fire rescue

Summerland churches go online during COVID-19 pandemic

Livestream services, online support provided to congregations and community

Fur Brigade Trail was transportation route in Okanagan Valley

Transportation corridor passed through Nicola Prairie, now Summerland

RCMP, firefighters rally in support for health care workers in Kelowna

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters Saturday night

Most Read