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NL police superintendent says officer who resigned over sexual assault allegations should have faced criminal investigation

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The province’s police watchdog says a now-retired Royal Newfoundland police officer should have been criminally investigated for sexual assault in 2017, criticizing the police force for failing to look closely at the officer’s conduct.

In a report released Thursday, the Serious Incident Response Team says it compiled a total of six incidents involving alleged sexual harassment or assault by at least one, but possibly two, unidentified officers.

The watchdog says it launched the investigation in response to a flood of media coverage about several women who said they were harassed and assaulted by RNC officers, mostly in downtown St. Louis.

On July 20 last year, Joe Boland, who was chief at the time, told SIRT he was aware of several complaints against a now retired member of the force.

SIRT received those complaints through an RNC disclosure soon after, directing police to turn over records of internal investigations into those alleged misconduct complaints that were never made public, despite occurring five years earlier. seen.

That revelation revealed that one of the accused officers agreed to resign from the force in 2017 after a complaint was brought to the RNC’s attention.

‘Disturbing pattern’

In that case, police conducted an internal investigation into allegations that the male officer kissed a woman he picked up from downtown St.

The RNC determined that the complaint “did not require a Penal Code investigation,” according to the report.

SIRT disagreed, arguing that the incident should have prompted a criminal investigation to determine whether there was sexual assault and breach of trust. The watchdog said it contacted the complainant, but the woman did not want to pursue charges or take part in another investigation.

The same officer was accused of repeatedly contacting another woman, which SIRT described as “extremely inappropriate”.

“If the above allegations are true, it is clear that [the accused officer] has displayed a disturbing pattern of using his position to solicit sexual favors from women in the St. Louis area.

Another accused officer, who the report says SIRT was unable to identify and may be the same person as the first accused, allegedly pulled over while driving a woman home and implied that he wanted sex, before she became angry and asked him to keep driving.

While King called each of the six incidents “extremely troubling,” the agency stressed that it believes only one of the incidents involved a possible criminal offense.

“Simply put, no [the complainant’s] participating in the investigation, we were unable to gather sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of a charge related to that incident,” King said.

“In my opinion, the RNC should have investigated this incident more thoroughly when it first came to light years ago. As noted above, it presents a significant hurdle for an investigative agency when an investigation takes place years after the fact.”

Without further information, the agency says it has exhausted all avenues to investigate multiple complaints of sexual misconduct against Royal Newfoundland police officers.

He appealed to the public for anything they may know about incidents of sexual misconduct involving the force, saying the investigation, although stalled, remains open.

King declined an interview Thursday.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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2/ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/sirt-report-august-11-1.6548381

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