Death threats against Rehtaeh Parsons' father lead to charges
Phone Interview: Glen Canning comments on death threat he received on YouTube
WARNING: This post contains sexually graphic language that may be offensive to some readers
HALIFAX – Police in Halifax have charged a man connected to the Rehtaeh Parsons case with uttering death threats online. Police won’t identify the person they’ve charged or the person who was the target of the alleged threats.
On Aug. 2, 2013, police received a complaint from a 49-year-old man who said he was threatened by an individual through comments on YouTube and WordPress.
RCMP say search warrants were executed to obtain IP addresses, and a computer and electronic storage devices were seized from a home.
A 19-year-old man was arrested on Thursday night.
Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, says he is the alleged victim. He tells Global News the threats are connected to the death of his daughter.
He believes the poster was involved in the alleged sexual assault.
The threats on YouTube read that the poster knows where Canning lives, works and what he does and that if he keeps talking about Rehtaeh “he might be going to visit his daughter”.
“It’s pretty dirty stuff, the stuff he wrote,” Canning said.”To know this is a person who was really close to the case of Rehtaeh to turn around and say those things to her father?”
Canning went to police, believing the comments were a threat to his life.
“It’s unfortunate it has come to this,” Canning said about the arrest and charges.
He commends police on their quick action, noting he understands the gap between his complaint and the laying of charges due to the complexities and technicalities involved.
“It took a while but it’s nice to see it come to a conclusion,” he said. “I’m not happy but I’m relieved.”
Canning wants this to serve as a lesson to people who do not realize their online actions could lead to consequences.
“You’re not anonymous. You’re not hiding behind anything. Police will hold you accountable for what you do.”
He also said that he feels there has been a cultural shift since his daughter’s death in respect to how online crimes are being handled.
“I do think the shift is going to be good. I’m not trying to rob people of their privacy but if people say I’m going to kill you then you have no reasonable conception of privacy.”
Parsons attempted suicide last year after a photo circulated of an alleged sexual assault led to relentless cyberbullying. She died a couple days later.
The 19-year-old suspect faces charges of uttering death threats and criminal harassment and will appear in Dartmouth Provincial Court on May 20.
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