Protesters gather in front of the RCMP detachment in Kelowna in late November to voice their concerns about the high number of sexual assault reports that were deemed “unfounded” in 2019. (Michael Rodriquez - Kelowna Capital News)

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

The results of the investigation are expected to be released in the next few weeks

The RCMP has completed its internal review of the extremely high number of sexual assaults that were deemed “unfounded” by police in 2018 and 2019, however, the results will not be made public for several more weeks.

According to police, the RCMP is in the process of reviewing the results before the report is released to the public.

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

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP vow to review ‘unfounded’ sexual assault cases

READ MORE: ‘Steeped in rape culture’: Sexual assault survivor speaks out against Kelowna RCMP

The Kelowna detachment came under fire in September after Kelowna Capital News revealed 40 per cent of sexual assaults reported to police in 2019 were deemed “unfounded.”

Unfounded cases mean police didn’t find evidence that the crime was attempted or that it occurred at all.

According to Statistics Canada, the RCMP received 82 reports of sexual assaults in Kelowna in 2018, 30 of which were deemed unfounded, which as a percentage is more than double the provincial average.

In response, the RCMP said it would conduct an internal investigation to try and find answers.

“We understand that there are many questions about the roots of these statistics, and we’re taking immediate steps to get answers,” said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Meghan Foster in November.

“The B.C. RCMP has conducted a preliminary review of these files, but we are currently not in a position to provide specific examples of why any of these investigations were deemed unfounded.

“For every investigation, there are many variables — each investigation is different and we do not want to deter any other survivors from bravely coming forward to report a sexual assault.”

READ MORE: ‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

READ MORE: ‘We represent the 40%’: Protesters swarm Kelowna RCMP over unfounded sexual assault reports

In addition to the preliminary review, the Kelowna RCMP requested the RCMP’s Sexual Assault Review Team at its national headquarters review the unfounded sexual assault files from 2018 and 2019.

“If this review indicates that not all investigative steps were followed, the file will be designated for a secondary review to determine what additional steps need to be taken by investigators and will be sent back to the BC RCMP for further review and/or investigation,” stated the RCMP in a news release at the time.

“Sexual assault is a devastating crime, and the RCMP is committed to improving how its employees respond to victims and investigate allegations of sexual assault.”

READ MORE: Kelowna mayor apologizes for initial reaction to sexual assault statistics


Paul Clarke
Assistant bureau chief, B.C. Interior South Division
Email me at paul.clarke@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

RCMPsexual assault

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