‘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

VIDEO: Giants winning streak halts against Everett Friday at home in Langley

Following their first loss since November, G-Men hope to regroup and defeat Victoria on Saturday.

Two local squads meet up at senior girls tourney in Langley

The 2018 Girls Tsumura Invitational continues Saturday with the finals.

Kazakhstan’s U20 team takes 4-3 win over Langley university squad

Thursday night’s game is one of three the visitors are playing at the Langley Events Centre.

VIDEO: Kids team up with Langley realtor to build holiday “homes”

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Cloverdale’s annual winter ice palace to open Dec. 21

Cloverdale Arena’s 21st-annual ice palace will open on Dec. 21

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Swap food for fines at Fraser Valley Regional Library

From Dec. 14 through Jan. 22, library patrons can “pay” their fines while helping local food banks

Most Read