‘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

Port Alberni residents, city council divided on rules for cannabis stores

Public speaks up about pot at committee of the whole meeting

Port Alberni RCMP officers honoured for bravery

Five faced ‘violent, deranged’ male during break-in

Alberni Valley Bulldogs battle against top teams in the BCHL

Bulldogs split weekend games against Spruce Kings, Chiefs

Husky robbery suspect caught

A man suspected of robbing the Husky gas station and convenience store… Continue reading

BCHL Bulldogs are for sale

The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society seeks a buyer after six full seasons of operation

VIDEO: Shoppers like self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, survey suggests

Grocery Experience National Survey Report suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

B.C.’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Most Read