‘Violated and humiliated’: inmate claims privacy breach at OCC

Latest lawsuit makes at least four against the Okanagan jail, just over a year after its 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

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

Revelstoke roads and weather: mix of sun and cloud

Heavy rains have destabilized the snowpack. Be careful in the backcountry

Future of heli-skiing unknown with caribou recovery plans

CMH presented to Revelstoke city council this month to outline its impact on the community

Support for Penticton shooting victim

A GoFundMe has been started for one of the four people killed April 15

Annual Nk’maplqs Challenge Cup returns easter weekend

The goal of the Vernon-based event is to revitalize the game and the tradition of an all-native hockey tournament in the Interior.

Local Kelowna project tabs restaurant workers for industry fundraiser

The 2nd Hungry Games invites fundraises for local charities

Home Hardware to give away free Reusable Shopping Bags in honour of Earth Day

“We feel we have a responsibility to keep our ecological footprint as small as possible”

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Shuswap dancer stays across street from Penticton shooting day after Salmon Arm tragedy

Dancers come for festival, put in lockdown in rec centre, watch police response from Airbnb window

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

COLUMN: Bunnies, sexuality and the freedom to read

A book about a gay bunny has been the subject of challenges

Vernon-raised BC Was Awesome producer returns home for filming of episode

The topic of this Vernon-featured episode has not yet been revealed.

Most Read