An 18-year-old aboriginal girl told an Edmonton courtroom that she had been raped, but when police arrived she was the one put in cuffs.
The young Edmonton woman claimed last week that she was arrested and denied a rape kit by police after her mother called law enforcement on her behalf.
Mark Cherrington, a youth worker in Edmonton's youth and family court, told APTN he was shocked by the girl's testimony.
“She’s just hysterical and in tears. She’s just been totally traumatized,” said Cherrington, describing the courtroom scene.
According to the Edmonton Sun, the girl was allegedly raped in a hotel room on Feb. 17. She called her mom, who then contacted police.
But instead of the police helping her, she was taken into custody for not completing court orders in connection with a previous charge.
“They told her that once she was out of jail she was more than welcome to come down to the cop shop and fill out a report,” Cherrington told the Sun.
“Sure they had a warrant, they have an obligation there too. But which is more important, not completing an apology letter, or a girl who had been brutally assaulted.”
Cherrington also told the Sun a rape kit was not performed on the girl until three days into her stay at the Edmonton Remand Centre. He said she was denied a shower for five days and was made to sleep on the floor of a holding cell.
“She understands she can’t have a shower or bath Monday (or Sunday) because she needs to get a rape kit. Tuesday comes along and they bring her for a rape kit which [was] way beyond the recommended time,” Cherrington told APTN, adding the test came back positive for rape.
"It's bizarre. It was a pile of mistakes, first by the police and then the remand centre," the Sun reports Cherrington as saying.
"There's no way, that being five days into this that I should have been the first responder to her sexual assault."
According to APTN, the girl's lawyer will be filing a complaint with police.
According to her lawyer, the girl was staying at the motel with her boyfriend, but he left after they got in a fight. She later made friends with two men and a woman who were also staying at the hotel. She alleges that the group attacked her both sexually and physically after inviting her to their hotel room.
Cherrington told the Sun the Edmonton police are failing aboriginal women with their law enforcement decisions.
"Me being white, if I made a complaint (like she did,) I'm sure police would have dealt with it differently."