Mother claims Whitecaps mishandled sex assault on youth player
The mother of a Vancouver Whitecaps youth residency program player who was allegedly attacked by teammates is criticizing the club’s actions, claiming they discouraged the family from going to police.
“Where they dropped the ball immensely was… not reporting it,” the mother told Global News. “I think that the police needed to be called immediately.”
The mother believes the Whitecaps were the first to find out her teenage son was allegedly sexually assaulted but they didn’t act fast enough.
“Our gut instinct was that they were trying to downplay it and protect themselves,” she said. “We felt that they wanted to deal with it internally and not let it get out.”
She said her son was allegedly sexually assaulted by two teammates in the locker room after soccer practice on June 5.
Two days passed and the alleged crime had not been reported to the RCMP, the mother said.
She said she trusted the club would handle matters.
WATCH: Mother alleges sexual assault at Whitecaps youth residency program
“I was feeling really confident that the Whitecaps were doing what was not only in the best interests of my son but also in the best interests of the safety of all the boys in the program,” she said.
That confidence eroded when the mother and her husband met with top brass at the Whitecaps youth residency program on June 7.
She said they were given two options: bringing in a private investigator or a Vancouver Police Department contact who does game security. Neither choice involved the RCMP, she said.
“We felt that he was trying to downplay things quite a bit, because the boys are minors nothing would be done, basically,” she said.
“That’s the feeling that we were getting, that they were trying to convince us that because it was minors it was not as severe.”
On June 8, Whitecaps officials notified parents of youth residency program players that there was a “significant contravention” of the program’s code of conduct.
The mother called the RCMP to report the alleged assault. It is unclear whether the Whitecaps called police to report the incident.
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The club has refused to answer questions because of the ongoing RCMP investigation, but said in a statement:
“A serious incident is alleged to have occurred between some male youth players at our Burnaby training facility last week which was in clear contravention of the club’s code of conduct.
“Two players involved were immediately put on indefinite suspension by the club and the matter was referred to the RCMP. The safety and well-being of our players is our top priority and we have been cooperating fully with the RCMP investigation.”
Burnaby RCMP confirmed that two youths have each been charged with one count of sexual assault. Their names are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. No other details have been released.
Global News has learned the suspects were also suspended from school. The Whitecaps are not commenting on whether they will return to the team.
— With files from Rumina Daya
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