Viral social media post about sex assault was ‘misinformation,’ say Vancouver police

Vancouver police say an alleged sex assault widely shared on social media never happened, and that the woman involved was actually hurt as a result of "misadventure.". Getty Images

Vancouver police say an investigation has found a widely shared social media post about an alleged sex assault earlier this month was a case of misinformation.

Online posts about the alleged incident, including a GoFundMe campaign, began after the first weekend of November.

The posts alleged that a woman, dubbed “Amor” to protect her privacy, had been abducted while leaving the Princeton Pub, only to be “dumped” in a park hours later having been sexually assaulted and brutally beaten to the point that she lost three teeth. The posts further alleged Amor had been drugged, and that a predator remained at large.

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In a Wednesday media release, Vancouver police said officers who spent three weeks scouring security video and speaking with witnesses concluded there was no assault and that Amor was actually a victim of “misadventure,” not a crime.

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“There was never a risk of harm to the public as a result of this incident, and the fear was spread wide by people who unknowingly shared information that was not accurate,” Sgt. Steve Addison said.

Police said while they had determined the details in the post were not true, the woman involved was not responsible for the misinformation.

According to the VPD investigation, Amor was out with friends and had left the pub in the early morning hours of Nov. 4. Police said she flagged down someone on an electric scooter, hitched a ride on the front of the vehicle, but fell off and struck her face on the pavement.

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She left the area, called a friend for help, and was treated in hospital, police said. Investigators believe the head injury she sustained in the fall may have contributed to her memory loss or confusion. Amor has since returned to her home country of Mexico.

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“Our investigators met with the injured woman before she left the country and found her to be forthcoming with what she recalled about the night she was injured,” Addison said. “She was not responsible for the misinformation that was spread online and in the media, and it appears the misinformation was shared by people who did not take the time to find out what had really happened.”

The GoFundMe campaign for Amor exceeded $15,000, but as of Nov. 22, the organizer said none of the money had been paid out and that donors were welcome to request refunds if they wanted to.

Global News has requested an update from GoFundMe on the status fundraiser.

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