‘Violated and humiliated’: Inmate claims privacy breach in jail

Latest lawsuit makes at least 4 against Okanagan Correctional Centre, just 14 months after opening

The Okanagan Correctional Centre is facing yet another lawsuit, this time with an inmate claiming feeling “abused and disrespected, violated and humiliated” after allegedly being told to strip in front of a camera.

Mathew Van Exan wrote in a lawsuit he was placed in OCC on remand after staying in a variety of facilities, finishing a two-year sentence.

Due to a unit search, Van Exan said he was waiting to be placed in a segregation holding cell with another inmate between about 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and at some point he asked to use the washroom.

Related: Second lawsuit in a week filed against jail

“So I was placed in another holding cell with a camera. I was to be placed in a segregation cell and changed from my reds (clothing) to seg. orange,” he said.

“I then told the CO (corrections officer) that there was a camera and did not feel comfortable changing naked in front of it, due to some past history of sexual abuse from when I was young.”

Van Exan claims he was told by staff it was an order to change, and “not wanting to get charged for disobeying staff order, I was uncomfortably stripped down nude.”

Related: Inmate suing Okanagan Correctional over alleged assault by officer

“Even though I was very argumentative about the situation, and even specified that it was my right to not unclothe on camera, I was then forced to touch my privates, lift them, even bend over,” Van Exan wrote.

“By this time, I felt completely abused and disrespected, violated and humiliated. The CO clearly knew he had breached my rights, as we kept arguing about the situation.”

Van Exan said the other inmate he had been waiting to transfer into segregation with was later taken to the proper room to change clothing.

Related: Inmate suing Okanagan Correctional over cart crash

None of the allegations have been proven in court, and no response has been filed by the B.C. government, the plaintiff in the civil claim.

Van Exan is calling for $35,000 as an award “for charter damages or breach of privacy,” the maximum claim in a small claims court.

This is at least four lawsuits filed regarding the jail at this point. David McHale is suing the jail after he and Peter Beckett were allegedly stabbed while in protective custody by Afshin Ighani, who is also facing criminal charges in the matter while he awaits trial on another matter.

Another lawsuit claims an overt use of force by a correctional officer. Tayler Veraegen claims a CO chokeslammed him, allegedly after he questioned an order to step out of his cell.

And another lawsuit claims inadequate health care after an accident with a cart, leading to improper healing.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New construction in town

Osprey rebuild their nest at Scout Island

EMBC hosts spring hazard readiness meeting in Williams Lake

Around 100 people attended a meeting to hear first hand from various government agencies

Prescribed burns to take place near Alkali

Series of burns intended to help restore grassland ecosystems

Williams Lake City Councillor Laurie Walters will not seek re-election

Laurie Walters is the third city councillor, along with the mayor, to announce her intentions for the fall election

Williams Lake RCMP investigate thefts from homes and a hit and run

Crime Stoppers is asking the public for information on thefts from homes near McLeese Lake along the Gibraltar Road

Canadian musician duets with ancestral Indigenous voices on debut album

Toronto’s Jeremy Dutcher has mixed his operatic tenor with his Wolastoq First Nation roots

Toronto sports fans come together in wake of van attack

Police probe Toronto van attack as details emerge

Prince William to be Harry’s best man

Prince William will be Prince Harry’s best man at May wedding

Humboldt arena memorial ring to be removed

Arena ring of tribute to Saskatchewan hockey team to be removed as summer nears

14 galaxies set to collide and form colossal cluster

Astronomers say this could be the largest structures in the universe

Former Social Credit MLA dies at 88

Lyall Hanson was mayor of Vernon in 1981 and moved to provincial politics from 1986-96

Police searching for escaped prisoner in B.C.

Ralph Whitfield Morris, 83, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder

B.C. set to introduce pot laws, but years of fine tuning likely: minister

Legislation regulating recreational marijuana is expected to be introduced Thursday

International Parkour Competition coming to B.C. city

Canada’s largest outdoor Parkour park only Canadian stop on North American tour

Most Read