HALIFAX – The RCMP say they’re concerned posters that have appeared on Halifax streets in support of four boys accused of sexually assaulting Rehtaeh Parsons could incite vigilante behaviour against the teens.
The brightly coloured posters bear the words, “Speak the Truth” in large, bold print, “there’s two sides to every story”. The posters urge people to support the boys, though it does not identify them.
RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae say the posters don’t break any laws, but police have received a number of complaints from residents about the flyers.
In a recent post on Facebook, Rehtaeh’s family say the posters are “disrespectful” and are an attempt to paint the 17-year-old girl in a negative light after her death.
On Wednesday Rehtaeh’s mother, Leah Parsons, said the posters were a form of harassment.
“It just felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. How dare they do that?” Leah Parsons told Global News.
“My daughter is gone because of them and they have the nerve to show up on my street and my community where my children live and keep harassing us. That’s harassment.”
The posters were tacked up on the suburban Dartmouth street where the Parsons family live.
Rehtaeh’s cousin, Angella, said she was outraged by the posters on Thursday, agreeing that they amount to harassment.
Neither the Halifax Regional Police or RCMP said they considered the posters a form of harassment on Wednesday.
The family alleges Rehtaeh was sexually assaulted by four boys at a home in November 2011 and bullied for months before she hanged herself on April 4.
She was taken off life-support a few days later.
MacRae says a Facebook page created in support of the four boys was recently taken down by its administrator after the Mounties raised concerns that the identities of the boys could be made public and interfere with an ongoing police investigation into the matter.
Global News has tried repeatedly to reach out to the boys and their families, but they have not offered a comment.