Header Ads

Officer who allegedly raped rookie colleague still not charged, internal probe found misconduct occurred

Ottawa police have substantiated misconduct allegations against an officer accused of raping a rookie colleague, but no charges have been laid, this newspaper has learned.

That decision can only be made by Chief Peter Sloly, who’s been aware of the findings by the service’s professional standards unit for weeks.

In June, this newspaper reported on a female officer’s human rights complaint, which alleged that, just months into her dream job as an Ottawa police officer, she was raped by a fellow officer.

The names of officers in the complaint were redacted and it was privatized at the human rights tribunal.

In a statement, the Ottawa Police Service said: “This is an active investigation so we cannot comment further in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation until its conclusion.”

The officer the woman accused of sexual assault was criminally investigated but not charged. In April 2019, according to her human rights complaint, the Ontario Provincial Police told her that “while they did form reasonable grounds that a sexual assault occurred, they have determined that there is no reasonable prospect of conviction.”

Article content continued
An internal Ottawa police disciplinary investigation began around that same time.

The accused officer has not been suspended nor removed from his duties.

In an email dated July 30, obtained by this newspaper, sent to the woman by the Ottawa police professional standards investigator assigned to the file, the investigator said she was finished her investigation into the accused officer.

“I have completed that part of the investigation, including the report. I was waiting to give you an update on this part until a determination was made if charges of misconduct will be laid. That said, I have substantiated misconduct in my investigation but the decision to lay charges doesn’t lie with me.”

The investigation into the accused officer is part of a larger investigation into several allegations against OPS employees in the human rights complaint.

Based on the email, the complainant’s lawyer Paul Champ believes that for weeks “a report substantiating sexual assault allegations by one police officer against another has sat on the chief’s desk.”

Champ said his client “is very distressed that there has still been no action by the chief, no disciplinary charges and no suspension.”

The woman has been off work on disability “because of the trauma of the sexual assault,” Champ said.

Her account of that night, along with years of workplace sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination she says she experienced, are detailed in the human rights complaint she filed in May 2019. In it are allegations of systemic sexism and routine dismissals of her concerns by colleagues and superiors.

Article content continued
In the complaint, the woman alleges that after saying he would drive her home at the end of a night out with other officers, the man allegedly instead took her to his house to show her what she “could buy with a first-class constable’s salary.”

When they got to his house, the man began making physical advances, according to the complaint.

“He then told me he was suddenly too drunk to drive.”

The man attempted to kiss her, she refused, according to the complaint. He then allegedly berated her before eventually forcing oral sex on her.

“I froze and felt utterly disgusted,” she wrote.

The next thing she knew, he penetrated her and she cried out for him to put a condom on, according to the complaint.

Champ said that the service first learned of the woman’s allegations in 2018.

“Now, here we are in the summer of 2020 and OPS investigators have submitted a report that substantiates my client’s allegations of a sexual assault, and we are still waiting.”

Champ said the case raises questions about the police service’s commitment to dealing with sexual harassment and assault within the ranks.

“If the OPS can’t protect their own female officers from predators in the service, how can they protect the public?” he asked.

Reeling from the turmoil caused by the suspension of a deputy chief over disciplinary charges for allegedly sexually harassing three OPS employees, the service this year announced a new ethics and values directorate and a joint task force with the police board to address sexual harassment and violence in the workplace.

Champ said Sloly’s “inaction on this file undermines his public commitment to securing a safe and respectful workplace for women.

“Maybe there is an explanation for the delay, but I really think no one is thinking about the impact this is having on my client,” he said.

In its statement, the service also said, “The Ottawa Police Service takes this and all such matters very seriously. That is why we are undertaking a major strategy to address workplace sexual violence and sexual harassment in partnership with the OPS Board and community experts.”

No comments