Where does the truth lie?

According to the CBC, two men charged with child porn were in court last Thursday, four months after the death of Rehtaeh Parsons. One 18-year-old man faces two counts of distributing child pornography, while another 18-year-old man faces charges of making and distributing child pornography.

According to Rehtaeh’s parents, the teenager was gang-raped at a house party by four boys. An online petition was launched demanding that the case revolving around these allegations be reopened. The RCMP said earlier this year that they looked into the allegations of sexual assault and an inappropriate photo but after consulting with the province’s Public Prosecution Service, they concluded there weren’t enough grounds to lay charges.

Friends of the alleged suspects launched a poster campaign defending the boys, which sparked a public outcry. The Facebook site by one of the supporters has since been closed down.

A week after Rehtaeh’s death, police reopened their probe with a new team of investigators, saying they received new and credible information from someone who was willing to co-operate.

The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service said Thursday evening that Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General was asked to get involved in the case at the time it was reopened.

Spokeswoman Chris Hansen said because Nova Scotia’s prosecution service provided advice to police during the initial investigation, it asked Ontario Crown attorneys to take over to avoid any “real or perceived” conflict. Hansen said the Ontario ministry would now assume the prosecution of the two teens charged.

After all the public outrage and calls for vigilantism this case has sparked, there are still some unanswered questions:

  • First of all, what is this “new credible information” and where is it coming from?
  • Why do I get the feeling these charges are nothing more than a political cop-out meant to appease the demands of a bloodthirsty public?
  • Remember when people are declaring with no uncertainty that she was gang-raped by four boys?
  • Now they still don’t have grounds to file rape charges, and what about the other two alleged boys that were supposedly involved?
  • Why do the stories keep changing?
  • Why are there only two boys being charged with child porn, when it was initially reported that four were involved in a gang-rape?
  • How come the RCMP didn’t have grounds to lay charges for child pornography until now?
  • If these pictures supposedly went “viral on the internet, as was reported multiple times, how is it that there could be no traces of it at all, when you can still find pictures of Amanda Todd – the young girl who also killed herself and became an unwitting martyr for the “rape culture” movement?

Certainly, if an inappropriate photo were distributed without the victim’s consent, the offenders should be punished. However, I question the morality of labeling two young men as “child pornographers” when they were minors themselves when this allegedly took place. Why does this feel like a trumped-up charge? In the aftermath of Rehateh’s death, the media did an impeccable job of making an angel out of the alleged victim, while vilifying the alleged offenders who still weren’t even yet identified. Pictures of Rehtaeh Parsons allegedly smoking cannabis are still online. When Rehtaeh passed, her mother went on her daughter’s social media accounts and deleted things off her wall – including posts and pictures about coke, mdma, and e (ecstasy). There was even allegedly a video of her snorting lines of coke.

Certainly, there is a lot of reasonable doubt surrounding the credibility of these rape allegations. If these offenders are to be condemned, let it be for something real.

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