Saanich police are investigating three teenage boys for the sexual harassment of a 16-year-old girl inside the Galey Farms’ corn maze Friday evening.
Det. Staff Sgt. Chris Horsley said police were dispatched to the farm around 9:20 p.m. on Oct. 25 after a call came in about an assault. Upon arrival, they learned that a 16-year-old girl had been walking in the maze with her mother when she was touched behind in a sexual manner. Prior to the assault, comments were made by the teen boys.
The mother and daughter were able to quickly identify a group of 13-year-old boys but weren’t able to identify the specific party responsible as the maze was very busy at the time of the incident. Police detained the three boys.
“I think it is a mistake to minimize the actions of the offenders simply because of their age,” Horsley said. “At 13, they clearly know right from wrong and we don’t want to diminish the impact it had … That behaviour is completely inappropriate.”
Parents were contacted and attended Galey Farms.
The boys were later released, but the investigation is ongoing as police seek witnesses or other potential victims who may have been assaulted or approached in a similar manner. Horsley emphasizes that under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, anyone past the age of 12 can be subject to criminal charges.
“As a police agency that often deals with sexual assaults, we know that this aggressive behaviour towards women starts somewhere,” he said. “That’s why we treat these calls seriously. It has an impact on people and their sense of security.”
The Saanich Police Department issued a statement noting the department takes incidents such as this one very seriously, adding the youths were brazen enough to commit this act even though the victim was walking with her mother.
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