A B.C. Supreme Court judge has recommended that a Lower Mainland RCMP officer who was charged with sexually assaulting his spouse should get counselling after the “disturbing” details of one of his emails made it into the court record.
The criminal charge against the officer was dropped last December in favour of a one-year peace bond issued because the alleged victim had “reasonable grounds to fear that the claimant would cause ‘personal (psychological) injury’ to her.”
The details of the allegations are contained in a family court judgment which resulted in an order for a shared parenting agreement.
Justice Carla Forth cited an email written by the officer that was attached to the record filed in support of the peace bond. The judge said it contained “most inappropriate and offensive language” written toward the woman.
“Most concerning in it are the attempts by [him] to dominate and control [her] in respect to sexual activities. The tone of the email is disturbing. It is understandable that [she] would be fearful of [him],” Forth wrote.
“I am of the view that [he] should undertake some type of counselling to address the views he has expressed in this email, particularly in light of the position of trust and power he holds as an RCMP officer.”
Suspended with pay
CBC is not naming the officer or his spouse because of the nature of the allegations and the interests of the couple’s children. Forth’s decision identifies them by initials only.
RCMP said the officer is suspended with pay while an internal code of conduct plays out.
According to Forth’s judgment, he “strongly denies the facts underlying” the allegation of sexual assault.
The officer and his spouse, who are both 44, were married in 2006. She left the family home with the children for a transition house on May 1, 2020, after requesting the assistance of RCMP to leave.
At that time, the woman made statements to RCMP investigators that resulted in a criminal charge being filed against the officer last August in relation to an alleged sexual assault from September 2019.
The charge was stayed last December, and the officer agreed not to have contact, directly or indirectly with the alleged victim. The peace bond also forbids him from possessing a firearm apart from during the course of his work as a peace officer.
‘Skewed attitude’ toward wife ‘as a female’
Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of Battered Women’s Support Services, says she is familiar with the case.
She believes the attitudes and allegations outlined in the case should factor into custody decisions, and she also questions the officer’s ability to do his job given what the judge described as his “skewed attitude” toward his wife “as a female.”
“Here is a case where the father appears to have performed sexualized violence on the mother and has done so from a point of view that the judge acknowledged was disparaging of women,” she said.
“And so we have to ask the question, why is the father’s conduct with the mother not factored into the ability to parent?”
According to the ruling, Forth said she saw “little evidence” to indicate that the officer would act in a violent way toward his spouse and none that he would be violent toward the children.
The couple are in the process of getting a divorce. The woman initially sought sole guardianship but a shared parenting scheme was arrived at through a series of judges and the pair have now agreed to enter into mediation.
Forth said the officer was engaged with the children in a “well-rounded” group of activities during the Christmas holidays and was up to speed on “how to parent during the pandemic.”
MacDougall said her group has established special support services for the wives of police officers who can find themselves isolated when trying to complain about sexual violence or domestic abuse.
“We’ve actually had issues with police that have been known to have perpetrated domestic violence to their partners, who [the police officer] have then been investigators — as patrol members — on cases that have come to our attention, because we’ve been supporting the victim,” MacDougall said.
“And we’ve seen how the police have done a bad job investigating.”
An RCMP spokesperson said that the internal investigation was still under way and subject to the Privacy Act. They also said duty status is subject to regular assessment.
If you are the victim of sexual violence, please reach out for help to HealthLinkBC by calling 811, or through the Crime Victim Assistance Program at 1-866-660-3888 or VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 or text 604-836-6381.