Quebec's justice minister is refusing to get involved in a case of alleged sexual assault of a minor by a lawyer, the allegations being made by the victim now in her 20s.
The woman's lawyer Marc Bellemare had asked the minister to intervene after the crown said it would not file charges in the case, though the prosecutor said the victim was credible and witnesses corroborated her version of events.
The woman filed a complaint in 2009. She said the incident happened when she was 14. Bellemare says the lawyer is well-known and also a Liberal Party fundraiser. He says his client is wondering that's the reason why charges are not being filed.
A coalition of groups helping sexual assault victims says they're disappointed by the minister's refusal to get involved. The Regroupement québécois des Centres d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (RQCALACS) says the woman's case is not isolated: no charges were filed in about half of sexual assault cases since 2009 for reasons not made public by police.
The group says the justice system still has many hurdles for sexual assault victims, such as very long court delays and even going to police in the first place for fear of not being believed or reprisals by the suspect.