By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
In response to an August 27 sexual assault on a nine-year-old Surrey girl, RCMP arrested 23-year-old Donovan Adams less than a week later on September 2. The manhunt for Adams began on August 28 and ended in Robson Park, where the assault allegedly took place.
At a public hearing, Surrey RCMP Superintendent Trent Rolfe stated that, according to the young girl, Adams approached her open window on the evening of the attack, and proceeded to lure her out. After the assault, Adams then took the girl to a neighbour’s yard, where he instructed her to remain as he escaped. The girl immediately returned home and told her mother, who then reported the crime and checked her daughter into a hospital.
“She [the victim] helped us catch this man,” Rolfe told associated press. “Just her inner strength, the way she was able to describe these events and some of the detail that allowed our investigators to go seek out those pieces of evidence and point us to the right guy.”
Adams is currently being charged for sexual assault, sexual interference, committing an indecent act, kidnapping, and breaking and entering.
Rolfe stated that the assault was a crime of “opportunity,” and with the window open and the girl left on her own to sleep, Adams was able to attack.
CBC reported that Adams had previously been charged with “unlawfully being in a dwelling-house” in February 2013, although the crime was not of this magnitude.
Adams’ first court appearance was on the afternoon of his arrest, and he is set to make a second court appearance on September 10.
Crimes such as the young girl’s assault via kidnapping by a stranger are rare in BC. As RCMP Sergeant Dale Carr told CTV, “I don’t recall the last time we had a child taken by a stranger and then ultimately sexually assaulted.”
Child sexual abuse in BC
According to the Elizabeth Fry Society website, the University of Victoria’s Sexual Assault Centre has reported that one-in-three girls and one-in-six boys in Canada, “experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18.”
In addition, a fact sheet compiled in 2012 by the Ending Violence Association of BC shares a number of child sexual abuse statistics.
While Rolfe reported that Adams had no known association or history with the victim, the Family Violence Statistical Profile reported that information from 2009 showed children under the age of 18, “were most likely to be sexually victimized or physically assaulted by some[one] they knew (85 per cent of incidents).”
The Family Violence Statistical Profile also states, “Nearly 55,000 children and youth were victims of a sexual or physical offence in 2009.” The statistic adds that three out of ten times, the child’s parent was the perpetrator.