HALIFAX – Halifax Regional Police say the investigation into an alleged sexual assault on Halloween night will proceed now that the alleged victim has agreed to take part in the case.
The young woman had initially declined to proceed with the investigation, but changed her mind when investigators reached out to her on Monday morning.
“Investigators decided after some time had passed, she had time to reflect and that she may have changed her mind and wanted to proceed with an investigation and that is what has happened in this case,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Lauren Leal.
Over the weekend, the Halifax chapter of the online activist group Anonymous released details of the alleged incident at a fraternity house on Robie Street.
“We have no confidence in police to protect our children, so are left with no choice but to expose these criminals that police fail to arrest,” the video stated.
The group not only names the person they allege is the perpetrator, but also included photos of him and his phone number.
“We believe it was really irresponsible on the part of the person who created the video and posted that online,” said Leal.
“They’re naming someone. They’re accusing them of a very serious crime that hasn’t been investigated that hasn’t been tested in court.”
Police confirmed they responded to a sexual assault call in the early hours of Nov. 1 from a “third party,” however the victim did not want to continue with the investigation.
“When it comes to sexual assault we completely respect the wishes of the victim. If they do not want to proceed, we do not force them,” said Leal.
Global News spoke on the phone with a man who claimed to be a part of the Halifax Nova Scotia Anonymous group, who said he is in close contact with the victim’s family.
He said Anonymous wanted to show their support through the video and put pressure on police to act.
Police do admit the video prompted them to reach out to the young woman on Monday.
“Comments that started to pop up under the video alluded to that perhaps the victim would like to proceed with the police investigation,” said Leal.
“So our investigators felt it was important to reach out to her that one last time to see if she was willing to proceed and thankfully she has agreed and we will be investigating.”
Privacy lawyer David Fraser says while Anonymous has done admirable work in pressuring change, he believes vigilante-type videos such as this are dangerous.
“The internet has a very long memory in fact so if your name had been associated with a crime as significant as this and a mistake was made and you weren’t the right person that can follow you for the rest of your life.”