Father of woman alleging rape in Mexico says he has little faith in investigation

The father of a Canadian woman allegedly raped by two Mexican police officers while on holiday says he has no faith in the investigation into the accusations.

Rebecca Rutland (right) and her partner Richard Coleman are shown in Toronto on Wednesday.

Rebecca Rutland (right) and her partner Richard Coleman are shown in Toronto on Wednesday.

The father of a Canadian woman allegedly raped by two Mexican police officers while on holiday says he has no faith in the investigation into the accusations.

Barry Rutland said Wednesday that Mexican authorities have already denied any wrongdoing in their treatment of his 41-year-old daughter, Rebecca Rutland.

What’s more, he said, Ottawa is “known for not being able to take care of Canadians abroad.”

An expert on tourism to Mexico says Canadians are right to ask for consular help when they’re in trouble, but they “can’t leave it to the government” to keep them safe in foreign lands.

“Travellers have to do their own homework” before heading to countries with records of violence or corruption, said Gabor Forgacs, assistant professor at the Ted Rogers School of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Toronto.

“They’re the ones who have to deal with everything local that’s happening,” he said.

“Laws, legislation are different in that country, law enforcement might be different, there are language issues, cultural issues.”

Canadians travelling to Mexico should take care to avoid encounters with local law enforcement, which may not follow “the same standards” as authorities in Canada, Forgacs added.

Rebecca Rutland, a social worker based in Thunder Bay, Ont., filed a complaint saying she was raped by two police officers at a police station in Playa del Carmen over the holidays.

Mexican authorities said in a release Tuesday that Rutland and Coleman, 51, were intoxicated and “started a fight and attacked each other.”

“During the brawl, they hit a car whose driver requested the assistance of the police,” the Embassy of Mexico in Canada said in a release.

The couple was released on the afternoon of same day, the embassy release said, and upon arriving at their hotel, they requested assistance in filing a complaint at the district attorney’s office.

A formal investigation based on Rutland’s complaint “immediately began,” the embassy said.

In the latest incident involving a Canadian in Mexico, a 69-year-old B.C. man was shot in the leg Monday after he threw his wife to the ground to protect her.

Mike Di Lorenzo, an innocent bystander in a suspected gangland shooting in Mazatlan, suffered a severe gunshot wound.