Charges finally filed in the Rehtaeh Parsons sexual assault case

Parsons committed suicide after photos of her alleged rape were posted online. Six months later, charges were filed

By Katie McDonough
Published August 9, 2013 12:19PM (EDT)
Rehtaeh Parsons   (Family photo)
Rehtaeh Parsons (Family photo)

Last April, 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons committed suicide after photos of her alleged gang rape were posted online by her classmates. Days after her daughter's tragic death, Leah Parsons wrote a loving remembrance and anguished plea for justice that prompted police in Halifax, Nova Scotia -- who had previously told the Parsons that no charges would be filed in the alleged rape or over the distribution of photos -- to reopen the investigation.

On Thursday, two years after Parsons' first report, law enforcement charged two young men in the case.

According to Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief Superintendent Roland Wells, two 18-year-olds have been charged with the making and distribution of child pornography, though their names have been withheld because they were minors when the alleged crimes took place. No sexual assault charges have been filed in the case.

Rehtaeh's parents said they were encouraged by news of the charges, though Rehtaeh's father, Glen Canning, said he believed it was a limited form of justice, since his daughter did not live to see it: "She's dead now. She's gone," he said.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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