WARNING: Some of the details in this story are disturbing.
Another woman is speaking out over concerns about how White Rock RCMP handled an alleged sexual assault complaint.
The woman, who asked only to be identified as Caitlin, said she woke up one night in April 2015 to find a man inside her White Rock apartment. She says he began yelling and cursing at her as she desperately tried to get out.
“I thought, he’s either going to kill me and rape me or rape me and kill me, and I don’t know what’s going to come first,” Caitlin told Global News.
She says she escaped to a neighbour’s apartment only to have the man start banging on the door.
“He mumbled something in the words of, ‘I’m going to let guys rape you,'” she said. “And I lost it.
“At that point, I started crying and I’m on the phone with 911 while this is happening.”
Caitlin says her experience with RCMP mirrors that of another woman, who claims a White Rock RCMP officer suggested that she move after she filed a report of sexual harassment by a neighbour.
Caitlin says an officer responded to her with the “same jargon of ‘well, just move.'”
The man who broke into her apartment was taken into police custody and detained overnight but not charged.
Caitlin says the matter was not taken seriously because the responding officer believed she had left her apartment door unlocked.
In a statement to Global News, White Rock RCMP Commander Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls said they reviewed the conduct of its officers when Caitlin filed a complaint years later after obtaining the incident report through Freedom of Information.
Pauls said that 2019 review found “the officer was negligent for not taking a statement from her at the time so as to preserve and document what she originally told police.”
That review, which was authored by Pauls, disagreed with Caitlin’s allegation that responding officers did not properly investigate her claims of assault.
However, Pauls also stated in the report that the lead investigator was wrong to use his discretion not to forward charges for a serious crime like break and enter on the grounds that the suspect was intoxicated.
Pauls added that in recent cases, victims were not told to move but told they could relocate “temporarily” if they felt they were in imminent danger.
“When I hear a complaint regarding how our service was to a victim, it is followed up with and thoroughly reviewed to understand the context and how we can improve using the lens of the victim,” Pauls stated.
“I can assure the residents of White Rock that we take investigations seriously and assess the available evidence continually to determine if it meets the requirements for charge recommendation.
“Regardless of the evidentiary strength of a case, the manner in which we interact with you and make you feel valued is important to us.”
Caitlin is demanding better of White Rock RCMP.
“It shouldn’t take someone to be seriously injured for an appropriate response or for someone who takes an oath to do their job properly.”
— With files from Catherine Urquhart