Monday, August, 14 2000 11:26 PM EDT

Former prostitute sues RCMP

SASKATOON — A lawsuit in Saskatoon raises serious allegations against the RCMP.

In 1994 Theresa Kematch was working as a prostitute in Saskatoon. She knew the street scene. What she didn't know was whose car she was getting into one October night.

But in a statement of claim her lawyer says RCMP knew all too well whose car it was because they were closely watching it, and followed it, as the car drove to another area of the city.

Kematch's lawyer, Ron Piche says, "The officers were in the immediate vicinity surveying this situation, and a young woman was raped and beaten by a known monster."

The monster, says Piche, was John Crawford. Crawford admitted killing one person and was suspected in a number of other deaths. He was eventually convicted of murdering 3 Saskatoon woman. In October 1994, Piche says the RCMP had Crawford under surveillance as part of their investigation into their deaths.

The statement of claim alleges at least 3 RCMP officers witnessed Kematch being raped inside Crawford's car, just a few meters away, and didn't intervene.

The RCMP says their officers didn't know. RCMP spokesperson Heather Russel says the police acted appropriately.

"Members who are conducting surveillance are under an obligation to intervene if they see a criminal act take place. However, the members in this case were not aware that there had been a criminal act at the time during the incident."

Theresa Kematch didn't go to police after the alleged rape. She says she didn't realize the man who she claims raped her was John Crawford, until he was charged with the other killings.

Piche says Kematch waited six years to sue the RCMP because she needed time to heal.

The force is expected to file its defence in the next couple of weeks.

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Created: December 6, 2000
Last modified: February 2, 2001
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