Child porn charges laid in rave gang rape

A derelict structure is pictured on a property where a 16-year-old girl was allegedly drugged and gang raped during a rave party in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Saturday September 18, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER - Police believe a teenage code of silence is stopping witnesses from coming forward to explain just what happened the night a 16-year-old girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted while others watched and even took photos.

Police expressed their frustration over witnesses Wednesday as the first charges were laid in connection with a case that has been complicated by Facebook postings and rampant rumours.

A 16-year-old unnamed Maple Ridge male has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography after he allegedly posted pictures on the Internet of what police say was a gang rape at a rave.

"It's a challenging investigation to the say the least," RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said in an interview.

While police are working on charges against "several" young men believed to be involved in the assault on the drugged teen, Thiessen said only two people who witnessed the attack have talked to police.

"Of the 10 to 12 that we announced last week who were at the scene there observing what occurred, none have come forward beyond the initial first two girls who showed some leadership and didn't succumb to peer pressure."

While that group has remained silent, Thiessen said police are getting a lot of information from teens in the community. Unfortunately, much of it is second- or third-hand.

"We need first-hand information from that one group," he said.

Police said the victim had been drugged with what they believe was gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, also known as the date-rape drug.

Though the teen girl was injured, police say she didn't remember the attack and only started putting the pieces together when pictures appeared on Facebook.

Mounties said the girl was repeatedly raped by a succession of males at the Pitt Meadows, B.C., party on Sept. 10.

A family statement last week said the spread of the pictures on the social media website Facebook repeatedly victimized the girl.

Thiessen said the rapid spread of the pictures is a lesson for those caught up in social media sites.

"Individuals take it upon themselves to utilize social media in a manner that is completely inappropriate," he said.

"They ultimately are committing a serious criminal act when they're taking photos of a young girls being sexually assaulted, which is child pornography and then distributing it, which is again distributing child pornography. So it's a serious matter."

An 18-year-old man was arrested earlier this month in the rape, but charges have not been laid.

Thiessen said they're continuing their investigation — very methodically — against several potential suspects.

The victim has returned to school and her family has said she is struggling to get her life back.