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Mother of sex crimes victim has message for parents



U.S. fugitive arrested in Whistler ordered deported.

The mother of the alleged victim of a U.S. fugitive who hid out in Whistler has a message for parents.

"You can try to protect your children but ultimately you can’t protect them 100 per cent and that is what I want parents to know," said the mother of a now 17-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted and stalked across state lines for three years.

"It is a scary concept but maybe I want parents to be frightened. You are more on your toes if you are.

"We thought we were protecting our children. We thought we knew our daughter backward and forward, but this person was able to manipulate her and have more control her."

This week the accused, Edward Patrick Branigan, who was arrested in Whistler Dec.12 on a Canada wide warrant, was ordered deported back to the U.S.

"This is extremely good news," said the mother of the victim from Indianapolis, Indiana.

Neither the mother nor the daughter will be named to protect the identity of the victim.

The 37-year-old fugitive was indicted by a grand jury in Indianapolis last November and charged with six counts of crimes involving one or more children. The charges include two counts of travelling with the intent to engage in sexual acts with a minor, three counts of producing child pornography, and one count of possessing child pornography.

Five of the six charges involve the Indianapolis girl who was only 13 years old when the alleged abuse began.

"He is a heinous, heinous criminal," said the mom.

Branigan first approached the victim after her family moved to Las Vegas in August 2000, said the mom.

Soon she began to act out. But said her mother, she would not tell her family what was wrong.

Concerned that her behaviour might be a result of the family’s move across the country the girl’s family sent her back to Indiana to be with her dad. Her parents had been divorced for some years and her mother remarried.

During therapy sessions in Indiana the teenager said she had been abused.

"As soon as we heard that we packed up and moved back to Indiana," said the mom, adding that they reported the allegations to Las Vegas police but their claims were never investigated.

Without the knowledge of the parents Branigan allegedly contacted their daughter, and she him.

The mother wouldn’t say if her daughter was threatened. What she did say was: "There were things that he said to her that made her feel she had no other choice."

The family continued to complain to police. Finally last year U.S. Customs got involved. It investigates computer on-line crimes.

In May 2003 the FBI contacted the victim’s family and in August the Bureau seized computers, and video equipment from Branigan’s home.

But he had already fled.

Whistler RCMP said he had been living in Whistler for several months when arrested on a tip from a family member. He was using his own name and did not appear to be working in the resort.

Branigan’s return to the U.S. to face justice is the first step in the healing process said the victim’s mom.

"He has got to finally face the justice that my family and my child so deserves," said the mom.

"My daughter’s entire teenage life has been taken from her.

"Everyday that is a good day I am positive and everyday there is a (backwards slide) I worry because this will never end for us.

"It will be a continuous process for us and for her to go from being a victim to a survivor, but I have faith that she will do it.

"But who can say how long that will take."

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