Fourteen people, most of them from Norway House, are facing charges for the forcible confinement and sexual assault of a 34-year-old woman that was discovered Aug. 11.
All but three of those facing charges are from Norway House. One of the alleged perpetrators remains at large and is being sought by Norway House RCMP.
An officer was attending a residence as part of an ongoing investigation on Aug 11 when the woman came out of the residence and ran towards the police vehicle screaming for help. The officer saw that she was suffering from numerous serious injuries and she said she had been held against her will and repeatedly assaulted. More officers were called to the scene and entered the residence, arresting 11 people who were inside.
The victim was taken to the Norway House nursing station and then transferred to hospital in Winnipeg for further treatment.
Four of the accused – Kendra McKay, 29, Kiefer Menow, 29 and Stefan Monias, 30, all from Norway House, as well as a 17-year-old female from Winnipeg – are charged with aggravated sexual assault, forcible confinement, uttering threats and assault and have been remanded into custody pending an appearance in provincial court in Norway House. Travis Apetagon, 40, turned himself into RCMP Aug. 20 and faces on charges of aggravated sexual assault, assault and forcible confinement.
Eight others, including six women from Norway House ranging in age from 20 to 48, along with a 27-year-old male from Winnipeg and a 52-year-old male from st. Adolphe, are charged with aggravated sexual assault and forcible confinement. They were released and are scheduled to appear in provincial court on Nov. 18 in Norway House.
Police are looking for Cody Monias, 36, from Norway House, on charges of aggravated sexual assault, forcible confinement and assault. Anyone with information on their whereabouts can call Norway House RCMP at 204-359-6483or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
“We are extremely saddened by and concerned about the violence that has happened in our community,” said Norway House Cree Nation Chief Larson Anderson in an Aug. 20 press release from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, (MKO), which represents 26 Northern Manitoba First Nations including Norway House, where the organization’s general assembly wrapped up the same day police issued a press release about the assault. “We are working to find solutions to support the wellness of our citizens and to help ensure this type of violence does not impact other young people. We need proper housing and programs to support the children, youth, and adults of all ages. In order to deliver programs that will help to prevent violence, we also need to see an increase in funding. We stand in solidarity with the young woman who has experienced such a terrible ordeal and we will advocate for her to receive the supports she will need in the months and years to come.”
MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee urged anyone with information on Monias’s whereabouts to come forward and said governments need to work urgently to implement the 231 calls for justice made by the National Inquiry in to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
“On behalf of MKO, I am deeply disturbed by the horrific violence experienced by the victim," said Settee. "It is shocking to learn how many individuals are alleged to be involved in this serious assault. Brutal acts of violence were inflicted upon the victim and these acts will impact the victim for a lifetime. I am sending our support for the 34-year-old woman. We will also stand in solidarity with the victim as this case moves through the justice system and support the victim on the journey of healing from the trauma."
“The trauma experienced by the victim is unimaginable; the physical scars will heal, but the emotional and mental scars can last a lifetime,” said Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, director of MKO’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison Unit, which provides support to families and communities who are impacted by the issue of MMIWG, survivors of gender-based violence, and two spirit and gender-diverse people. “The young woman who was victimized is loved and she is sacred. The actions of the people who assaulted the young woman have caused so much trauma.”