Alleged sex assault involving children in Surrey park being dealt with, RCMP say
The Surrey RCMP is assuring parents that an alleged sexual assault against a child that was reported on Easter Monday is being dealt with, and they don't believe there's any ongoing risk to the public.
Sgt. Elenore Sturko told CTV News there has been some false information about the incident circulating on social media, which prompted the RCMP to address what happened publicly on Tuesday.
"It just elevates the public's fear," Sturko said of the internet comments. "In this case, there was so much chatter in parents' groups that we just wanted to be able to put something out in the hopes they would see it."
Authorities confirmed they responded to a report of a sexual assault involving a child in Blumsen Park on Monday, and that a 13-year-old suspect has been identified.
The victim did not sustain any serious physical injuries, but Sturko said it was still an upsetting incident for the child and their family.
The Surrey RCMP Special Victim's Unit and the Sophie's Place child and youth advocacy centre are now providing co-ordinated supports to the victim, including counselling.
"Our RCMP officers work out of Sophie's Place, and they conduct their interviews with kids out of that setting because it's a setting designed to make the process better for children, youth or vulnerable people," Sturko said.
It's unclear whether the underage suspect might face a criminal charge, but Sturko said police and prosecutors will be considering all the circumstances in determining whether it would be in the public's interest.
Those factors are not being shared publicly, however.
"While we can't release specific details, what we do know is this shouldn't be something that is an ongoing concern for parents," Sturko added.
Authorities said the suspect's family has been co-operative. Alternatives to prosecution could include professional interventions that would be considered hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Sturko said.
"We're going to be dealing with this in an appropriate manner and one that also seeks to make sure that there aren't any further incidents," she said.