Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ivan Henry: Joan McEwan, author of the much lauded book "Innocence on Trial: The Framing of Ivan Henry," lays out loud and clear the horrific consequences of a poor rape investigation: More victims, more innocent persons sent to prison - and the real perpetrator remains free to commit more crimes. (Must Read. HL);

SUB-HEADING: "When Ivan Henry was falsely imprisoned, he became far from the only victim."

PHOTO CAPTION: Bad police work begets more victims: when an innocent person is sent to prison, the real perpetrator remains free to commit more crimes."

GIST:  "While people in Canada, and beyond, are familiar with the flawed investigation into the Vancouver Downtown Eastside's missing women/Robert Pickton murders in the late 1990s and early 2000s, very few are aware of the Vancouver Police Department's similarly botched investigation regarding the numerous women sexually assaulted during the 1980s.The department's appalling negligence during its investigations of those rapes led to the conviction but eventual acquittal, nearly three decades later, of Ivan Henry, whose incarceration allowed the real serial rapist to roam free and victimize dozens more women. I've deeply researched the Henry case while writing a recently published book. What resonance does the story have today? At this moment when advocates are pushing on every front to reduce the risk of rape for women in our society, the case of Ivan Henry's wrongful conviction is a sobering reminder that lax investigations of rape can not only fail the victim(s) but leave at large sexual predators to strike again and again."........Here, then, is a cautionary tale of a police culture -- blinded by sexism, lazy expediency, or worse -- which must be implicated in dozens of preventable sexual assaults that took place both before and after Henry's incarceration.........In October 2010, Henry was acquitted -- after spending 27 years in prison -- on the basis of faulty identification evidence. In my book, Innocence on Trial: The Framing of Ivan Henry (Heritage House; 2014), I make the case that the real culprit -- a man who had long been on the VPD's radar -- was Donald James McRae. I further contend that McRae -- who pleaded guilty in 2005 to three rapes occurring after Henry went to jail -- was almost certainly the culprit in countless more Ironically, it was the investigation into missing women from the DTES that resulted in the reopening of Henry's appeal......... TR, a woman assaulted by McRae in April 1984 -- almost two years after Henry's incarceration -- recently spoke to me about her ordeal. "The Vancouver Police Department didn't seem to care that I'd been raped," she said. "Maybe they thought that, because I was living near East Sixth and Fraser, I was a prostitute and deserved it. When I contacted them two weeks later to say I'd seen a man with a similar build, they did nothing. "Though the doctor who examined me recovered semen from my vagina, I was told in 2010 that, because 1984 was 'pre-DNA,' the samples hadn't been kept. No one seemed interested in my ordeal." (Notably, the VPD's decision not to conduct serology testing in the alleged "Henry" assaults is suspect, as is its failure to retain the semen samples from the attacks. Such samples retained in 1984 led to the exoneration of Guy Paul Morin in 1995. Semen samples retained in 1969 led to the exoneration of David Milgaard in 1997. And samples retained in 1981 led to the exoneration of Thomas Sophonow in 2000.) "Now I hear that dozens of women were sexually assaulted by this horrible man while the VPD sat on their hands." Asked whether she had considered suing the VPD for negligence, if not worse, she replied, "Why sue their asses off now? When I wanted them, they weren't there.""

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