June 12, 2018
Allegation of sex assault in Sunbury Park recanted
A reported stranger sex assault, alleged to have occurred on April 12 near Sunbury Hall in North Delta, has now been determined by police to have been a false report.
The alleged incident was reported to Delta police on April 13, 2018. Delta Police immediately launched an investigation, provided victim services, issued a news release to advise the public, and increased patrols in the area. Police undertook a variety of measures to gather information and evidence, including canvassing the neighbourhood.
Due to significant community concerns expressed, Delta Police also held a public meeting May 9, which featured a number of police speakers, the mayor, as well as parks representatives who outlined safety improvements made in the area. At the meeting Delta Police also issued an updated news release on the investigation as well as a composite drawing of the suspect. During this process Delta Police continued to meet with the victim to gather more information and update her on the progress of the investigation.
Evidence has since come to light that caused police to believe the alleged assault may not have occurred. In a follow-up meeting with the woman she confirmed the assault did not take place, and recanted her statement to police.
“We understand the community was very troubled by news of the alleged stranger sex assault in the park,” says Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for Delta Police. “A significant number of resources were dedicated to this investigation. However, our concern right now is that we do not want this news to discourage any other potential victims of sex assault from coming forward. Our investigators will always treat these reports very seriously, and will work with the community to do our best to ensure the public’s safety.”
“Could police resources have been put to better use during this time? Absolutely. And we acknowledge that others who have made false police reports have faced criminal charges, such as public mischief. However, due to a variety of factors, investigators have determined it is not in the public interest to pursue charges in this matter,” says Leykauf.
Stranger sexual based assaults are rare and are prioritized to the highest level of investigation by policing agencies across Canada due to the risk to the public safety. Therefore, due to the seriousness and significant resources deployed for these types of reported incidents the DPD would like to remind the public that making false reports to the police is a crime and a person may be prosecuted accordingly.