A 16-year-old youth is in custody, facing serious charges, and a teenage girl was rushed to hospital after an unsanctioned weekend grad party organized by North Vancouver high school students went horribly wrong.
Police were called to the Encore Dance Club on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday night after receiving word that a teenage girl had been violently assaulted.
She was taken to hospital by ambulance and has since been released. It’s unclear how the incident started.
Police arrested the 16-year-old boy at the scene. He has been charged with aggravated sexual assault and forcible confinement and remains in custody pending a court appearance.
The youth has not entered a plea to the charges. None of the charges has been proven in court.
Const. Brian Montague said police spoke to a number witnesses at the event and will be reviewing video surveillance footage as part of their investigation.
The violent incident happened at a private grad party apparently organized by high school students from North Vancouver.
No liquor was served at the event, but “in many of these cases where we have grad parties, it’s very difficult to prevent people from drinking beforehand,” said Montague.
Deneka Michaud, spokeswoman for the North Vancouver School District, said the event at the dance club was “not a school sanctioned event.”
Michaud said the school district strongly encourages families to speak to their teens about only attending officially sanctioned grad events, which the school makes parents aware of.
Those events can include boat cruises, dinner dances and even white-water rafting trips. But school officials are also aware that grads sometimes organize their own events, she said.
Michaud said the school district has made counsellors available to teens who may need to talk about what happened and has tried to answer questions from parents in the community who have phoned to express their concerns.
Montague also encouraged parents to talk to their teens. “It’s important for parents to have conversations with their children about issues like this and it’s important for people to realize that violence and violence against women is unacceptable,” he said.