The hacktivist collective Anonymous has threatened to identify the four men who allegedly gang-raped Nova Scotia high school student Rehtaeh Parsons, a week after she committed suicide.
According to the New York Daily News, Anonymous claims to have already identified two of the four men and says that it is making strides in identifying the other two. Parsons hanged herself in her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after years of being bullied for a gang-rape that took place at a party in 2011. On Sunday, she was removed from life support; she was 17.
In a crime that has been referred to as Canada’s Steubenville, the rapists allegedly photographed themselves standing alongside Parsons while she was drunk and passed out after the rape, giving “thumbs-up with a big smile,” the Chronicle Herald reported. The photo “spread like wildfire” throughout Cole Harbour District High School, but the local police concluded an investigation into the assault, saying that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed with charges.
On Wednesday, Anonymous released a statement saying that they had launched #OpJustice4Rehtaeh and would expose the men unless Nova Scotia police met their demands of reopening the investigation and “providing justice to Retaeh's family.” The group said that they were presently instructing other members of Anonymous to continue to withhold the names but would release the information if the police failed to comply.
"Anonymous has confirmed the identities of two of the four alleged rapists. We are currently confirming a third, and it is only a matter of time before the fourth is identified as well,” the group wrote. “Our demands are simple: We want the [Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police] to take immediate legal action against the individuals in question. We encourage you to act fast. If we were able to locate these boys within two hours; it will not be long before someone else finds them.”
“We do not approve of vigilante justice as the media claims,” the statement continued. “That would mean we approve of violent actions against these rapists at the hands of an unruly mob. What we want is justice. And that's your job. So do it.”
Parsons’ father, Glen Canning, wrote a blog post about his daughter’s death on Wednesday, condemning the lax police response. “Rehtaeh Parsons thought the worst outcome for her case would be no charges against the men who raped her, but we all know better,” Canning wrote. “The worst thing that could happen would be ... that they would be found guilty and that Rehtaeh would sit on a court bench and listen in utter disbelief as they were given parole or a suspended sentence or community service.”
“How is it possible for someone to leave a digital trail like that yet the RCMP don’t have evidence of a crime? ... Why was this treated like a minor incident of bullying rather than a rape?” Canning added.
The RCMP has said it will not be filing any charges, according to CNN. "An investigation was conducted into the alleged sexual assault," Cpl. Scott MacRae, a spokesman for the RCMP said. "In consultation with the crown, the decision was made that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges."