Rehtaeh Parsons hung herself after four boys allegedly raped her and weren't charged

By Mike Fleeman
April 10, 2013 06:00 PM
Courtesy Parsons Family

Is it Steubenville all over again, only with an even more tragic outcome?

Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old Canadian girl, was taken off life support this week after hanging herself, nearly 18 months after she was allegedly raped by four boys who were never charged.

One of the boys allegedly took a photo of the assault and “it quickly went viral,” the girl’s mother claims in a heart-wrenching Facebook post, branding Rehtaeh a “slut” and subjecting her to bullying.

“She struggled emotionally with depression and anger,” Leah Parsons writes. “Her thoughts of suicide began and fearing for her life, she placed herself in a hospital in an attempt to get help.”

But the bullying continued, her mother writes, and the family moved to Halifax but the problems didn’t end.

Authorities launched an investigation in November 2011 into a report of a sexual assault and an inappropriate photo.

“That investigation was completed and in consultation with the Crown, there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Scott MacRae said Tuesday, The Gazette of Montreal reports.

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The case has been called the “Canadian Steubenville,” drawing comparisons to the assault of a 16-year-old Ohio girl. Two football players, ages 17 and 16, were convicted of rape last month in a case dividing the Rust Belt city sparking accusations of a cover-up to protect the community’s athletes.

In the Canadian case, MacRae didn’t name the victim or give additional details of case because of privacy issues.

On April 4, Rehtaeh tried to commit suicide by hanging herself in the bathroom; on Tuesday her family took her off life support.

“The justice system failed her,” her mother writes.