Sunday, October 23, 2016

Corn maze actors attacked

by Carmen Weld - CASTANET Oct 23, 2016 / 8:35 am
UPDATE 3:32 P.M.

An official statement from Historic O'Keefe Ranch chairperson Max Russmann and general manager Glen Taylor condemn the acts of violence committed against volunteers at the ranch's Field of Screams corn maze and vows to punish the culprits “to the fullest extent possible under the law.”

“It is with great disappointment, and considerable upset and anger that we issue this statement regarding the attacks of Oct. 22, 2016 at O'Keefe Ranch's haunted corn maze event.”
The statement goes on to say, the “ranch would like to assure the public that we will be working closely with the RCMP and with the Crown, and will be bringing all available resources to bear in finding those responsible and ensuring that they are held accountable for their actions. Ranch officials will be taking “additional steps to ensure our staff, our volunteers, and our patrons are safe while at O'Keefe Ranch,” but did not elaborate.

“We are a nonprofit society, and depend upon events such as this one to remain operational. While this appears to be an isolated event, the safety of all of the members of our community while they are at the Ranch is paramount, and it is something that we treat with the utmost seriousness and importance at all times.
“Finally, we would like to openly and forcefully decry this kind of behaviour. Such actions are not acceptable at the ranch, in our community, or in our society. They will not be tolerated, and again, in addition to taking further steps to ensure everyone's safety, we will be seeking to ensure that those responsible are held accountable to the fullest extent possible under the law.”
Vernon residents are on a witch-hunt and this time it’s for the people that hurt the witch. According to multiple reports, a group of about eight young men tore through the O’Keefe Ranch Field of Screams Saturday night causing serious damage to both the props and the actual actors. Multiple volunteer actors are reporting on Facebook that props were damaged, corn was thrown at them, they were hit and one woman even had her hand crushed by an assailant. Kimberly writes on Facebook that a man in crutches purposely crushed her hand, breaking a finger and a knuckle and causing extensive bruising. “He wasn't even scared he just smashed my hand with his crutches. Broke one finger in two separate places. He laughed and thought it was funny. He hit me three times before I could get my hand back thru the hole in the wall,” wrote Kimberly. Fellow actor Jennifer Blake wrote that throughout the evening actors were punched, pushed, kicked and hit. “I hope any of you losers who have been doing this realize that each and every one of these actors are volunteers, many of which are teenagers and kids that you are hurting. Including a horrifying story I heard about our 10-year-old actor getting kicked,” she wrote. “I can't believe some of this disgraceful behaviour. A lot of us actors are legitimately scared for our safety now.” One mother wrote in to Castanet confirming reports of the assault. She said her 16-year-old daughter was repeatedly pushed, punched, kicked and threatened. Multiple posts have been put online in hopes of identifying the assailants whom the actors described as drunk, disorderly and aggressive. While many online are saying this year is the best show the Ranch has ever put on, some actors are saying they may not be going back as they fear for their safety. The RCMP are reportedly involved in the investigation. Castanet has calls in to the Vernon RCMP and O’Keefe Ranch and will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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