Frequently asked questions regarding file 2016-9938 (Randy Downes)
2016-10-14 14:42 PDT
File # 2016-9938
On Wednesday, October 12th the Coquitlam RCMP held a press conference (link to original media release) to announce the approval of charges against Randy Downes, a Coquitlam resident who has been a well-known figure in Metro Vancouver youth sports for more than three decades.
Since the announcement our investigators, our media team and our front counter and switchboard staff have been inundated with messages from concerned citizens seeking reassurance and information about the investigation.
Rather than respond to each query individually, we have chosen to address the most commonly raised issues here:
Why did it take so long for Mr. Downes to get arrested?
The simple answer is that conducting a rigorous investigation takes time. And any investigation that involves the review of digital evidence takes significantly more time and resources. Our investigation into Mr. Downes is exactly that type of investigation.
More than six months passed between the initiation of our investigation into Mr. Downes on March 31, 2016 and his arrest on October 12, 2016. During that time our team was engaged in tasks such as identifying and interviewing witnesses but much of that time was spent reviewing an enormous volume of digital evidence to ensure there were sufficient grounds to recommend charges.
And charge approval is just one step in an investigation; our investigation is ongoing and there is more evidence left to review.
What are the allegations against Mr. Downes?
We can confirm that Mr. Downes has been charged with:
- Four counts of Voyeurism – Section 162(1)
- Four counts of Making Child Pornography – Section 163.1(2)
- One count of Possession of Child Pornography – Section 163.1 (2)
For more information about the elements of each offence, please refer to the Criminal Code of Canada http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/
We understand that the nature of the charges raises a lot of questions. One thing we can confirm is that we have no evidence to indicate that Mr. Downes has had sexual contact with children.
Unfortunately, we are unable to release any more information than that at this time because of a court-ordered publication ban.
Why didn’t the Coquitlam RCMP notify the youth sports organizations that Mr. Downes is currently involved with or warn the public during the course of this investigation?
Risk assessment is a big part of any police investigation, but particularly when the investigation involves a potential risk to children. The risk assessment process helps our investigators strike a balance between protecting public safety, protecting the privacy rights of individuals, protecting investigational integrity and upholding our commitment to impartiality and the presumption of innocence.
From the start of this investigation, our team engaged in an ongoing assessment of the risk Mr. Downes presented based on the allegations and the evidence collected.
If, at any point, our team had an indication that Mr. Downes presented a risk to the physical safety of children we would have acted immediately via a public warning or some other strategy aiming to eliminate that risk. However, no such risk was indicated. Since we did not find any indication of risk we had no reason to publicly identify Mr. Downes and doing so would have been an unjustifiable violation of his right to privacy and a risk to the integrity of the investigation.
Is Mr. Downes in jail?
After his initial appearance in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court on October 12th, Mr. Downes was released on bail. He is required to comply with court-ordered conditions while free on bail; however, those conditions are covered by a court-ordered publication ban.
Mr. Downes is due back in court November 2nd at 9:00 a.m.
How can parents find out if their child’s photos are part of the investigation & get those photos returned or destroyed?
Images captured as a result of Mr. Downes’ work as a sports photographer are covered under common or civil contract. Anyone with questions about return or destruction of professionally obtained photographs should seek legal advice on how to proceed.
Our investigators are doing everything they can to identify the subjects of the images seized as evidence in this investigation and to get in touch with those individuals. However, due to the volume of images needing review, this will be a time consuming process and we may not be able to identify all the individuals photographed.
As our investigation moves forward we will manage all evidence, including digital images, according to established rules for the retention, return and forfeiture of evidence.
What can parents do to keep their children safe in youth sports?
- Talk to the local or provincial association for any sport your child is involved in to make sure you understand and are comfortable with the screening processes in place for volunteers, coaches and executives as well as the association’s rules and processes for handling complaints against adults in positions of trust and authority.
- Get to know the coaches and other adults that are active in your child’s sport as well as the parents of the children your child trains with and competes against.
- Talk to your children about topics like personal boundaries, appropriate adult attention and how to communicate with you about unusual or uncomfortable incidents.
- If you see something, say something. If you witness or hear about an incident that makes you concerned for the safety of children, report it to the appropriate authority in the sports association and report it to police.
How can the public help the investigation?
If you have information to pass on to our investigative team you have three options:
- Call the Coquitlam RCMP non-emergency line at 604-945-1550. Quote file # 2016-9938 and be prepared to answer detailed questions from one of our call-takers about the nature of your relationship with or knowledge of Mr. Downes. Your information will be passed on to the Coquitlam RCMP Sex Crimes Unit for follow up.
- Email the investigators Coquitlam_sex_crimes@rcmp-grc.gc.ca and use
File #2016-9938as the subject line of the email.
- Contact Crime Stoppers by phone (1-800-222-8477) or online at www.solvecrime.ca
Please note: The Coquitlam RCMP does not take tips via social media.
If you have a question that wasn’t addressed above, please email Coquitlam_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. We will update this post as needed.
Cst. Jennifer GoodingsMedia Relations
2986 Guildford Way, Coquitlam, BC, V3B 7Y5
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