Second guilty plea in Pitt rave case
The Pitt Meadows rave case is winding down after a guilty plea was entered in December and a sentencing hearing is to be held next week.
Originally described by RCMP as a gang rape, the incident has concluded with two guilty pleas, one by a juvenile in 2011 to distributing obscene material, and more recently, a guilty plea by Dennis John Allen Warrington to the same charge, distributing obscene material.
Warrington, who was 20 years old on Feb. 16, 2012, entered the plea Dec. 20.
Warrington had been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography following a party dubbed “Another Night in Bangkok,” at a Pitt Meadows farm on Harris Road, Sept. 10, 2010.
Although Warrington was at the party, he did not witness the alleged sex assault of a 16-year-old girl, which police at the time described as rape.
But a teenaged boy, 16 at the time, took photographs of the sexual activity and sent them to his friends, who shared them with others, including Warrington.
A day after the rave, the photographs were posted on Facebook, with a caption that wondered who the girl was. Warrington did not know the identify of the victim.
Distribution of obscene material is a lesser charge because there is no minimum sentence, unlike possession or distribution of child pornography, which carries a minimum six-month jail term.
Crown prosecutor Wendy van Tongeren Harvey said a sentencing hearing will take place all day Feb. 6 in Port Coquitlam provincial court, where the victim will also give an impact statement.
The child pornography charges against Warrington will be dropped at that time.
Warrington has been under bail conditions requiring him to be home by 11 p.m., to abstain from drugs and alcohol and to not communicate with the victim. Warrington is also banned from accessing the Internet.
He was charged last year with violating one of those conditions. That charge also will be dealt with Feb. 6.
Warrington was the sole person left facing charges after a sexual assault charge against Colton Ashton McMorris, 20, was dropped last February. Crown entered a stay of proceedings, saying the evidence did not provide a likelihood of conviction.
The girl, however, maintained she did not consent to sexual activity. When court proceedings against McMorris came to a halt, the girl – now a young woman – made a public plea for more witnesses to break the “code of silence” and come forward.
A day after charges against her alleged attacker were stayed last February, a teenage girl maintained she was sexually assaulted at the party.
“No one, including myself, would let this happen to them willingly,” she said, flanked by her father at the South Bonson Community Centre in Pitt Meadows.
“I have often wondered why women never report when they are sexually assaulted. Now I know why. It’s a he-said, she-said thing. I am devastated that this case did not proceed.”
She said she had no memory of the event that took place during the party. RCMP have suggested she may have been drugged.
McMorris was the only person charged with sexual assault, although police initially believed more than one person participated in it and dozens watched.
The other guilty plea took place a year ago, when another teen, who was 17 at the time of the incident, also pleaded guilty to distributing obscene material and was sentenced to a year’s probation. He had previously been charged with producing and distributing child pornography, but those charges were dropped.
The teen, who cannot be named because of his age, also had to write an essay on the dangers of social media and a letter of apology to the victim.
“As much as [the teen] would want to turn back time and take back what he has done, the reality of life is such that he cannot undo what he has done,” Judge Pedro De Couto said.
The harm done to the victim’s reputation, her good name and her self-confidence by the “thoughtless acts” of this young person has significantly scarred her, the judge added.
The teen admitted he took photographs and a video on his Blackberry of what he thought was consensual sex and sent it to others.
He told the court he took the photographs because he thought his friends would never believe what he had seen.
The images were eventually posted by others on to Facebook and repeatedly shared online, prompting RCMP to make a public appeal to stop their distribution.
Police said shortly after the incident that the 16-year-old girl was gang-raped in field by five to seven men – some adults and other teens. Police then backed away from describing the incident in those terms.
“Make no mistake, this girl was raped, likely drugged and abused by numerous people,” said Sgt. Jennifer Hyland, the officer in charge of Ridge Meadows RCMP’s serious crime unit said after the incident.