On March 30, 2015, in an effort to get more information about the Mitch Vandergunst arrest and charges, I contacted Sgt. David Rektor of the Ontario Provincial Police:
Hello Sgt. Rektor,
Thank you for getting back to me. My questions:
1. What date in July 2013 was Mitch Vandergunst of Exeter, ON, arrested? What date was he formally charged? The sexual assault occurred in Grand Bend, ON.
2. Would the OPP have notified the media about Mr Vandergunst’s arrest? If so, by what means (for example, fax only? email? any other means?)?
3. Would papers attached to chains such as Metroland and Sun Media get the arrest notification? Would media outlets in places like Exeter and Stratford have received the info?
4. Do you put out a release when formal charges are laid?
5. At any stage throughout this process, would the OPP need to be in touch with other police forces about Vandergunst? The Stratford City Police, for example?
Later that day, Sgt. Rektor responded:
Answers to your questions;
1. The incident was reported to police on July 20, 2013 and an accused arrested on the 21st of July 2013 for the incident in Grand Bend and Exeter (South Huron).
2. The OPP media officers post their respective media releases on the OPP Media Portal if/when they have authorization to do so. In this instance there was and/is a publication ban in place that would identify the victim in this case in any way, shape or form. Election to not issue a media release in this instance is substantiated.[emphasis mine]
3. I can’t tell you what media do with our releases once they acquire them from the OPP Media Portal. Media outlets in Exeter and Stratford can certainly receive the information from our media portal in the same manner others do.
4. We issue media releases when it is appropriate to do so. Each case is looked at on its own merit. Providing there are no publication bans and the victim isn’t re-victimized as a result of our release a release can be issued.
5. Though I can’t speak to specifics on this case as to whether or not there was communication between outside police services, I can say that it is a common practice to share and exchange police information when appropriate or required.
There is an appeal before the courts on this matter and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further. Please note that we do not comment on court outcomes or proceedings.
You likely have many more questions than I have answers at this time. If there is anything further we/I can do to assist, please e-mail or call at your convenience.
Sergeant Dave Rektor