Eight SQ officers suspended in wake of sexual-assault allegations

QUEBEC CITY – Quebec’s public security minister says eight Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers who allegedly sexually assaulted native women in Val d’Or in northwestern Quebec have been put on administrative leave.

Lise Thériault also says the investigation has been transferred to Montreal police (SPVM) from provincial police.

Thériault made the comments in Quebec City Friday, a day after it was revealed that provincial police were investigating their own.

The story broke ahead of the broadcast Thursday night of “Enquete,” a Radio-Canada investigative program that looked into the allegations.

Thériault told the legislature on Thursday her office first heard about the allegations last May.

Parti Québécois Leader Pierre Karl Péladeau then urged the government to hand the investigation over to a new body whose mandate is to look into incidents or allegations involving a peace officer.

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Premier Philippe Couillard responded that the new agency is not yet up and running and that the government would have been criticized had it not acted last May.

The alleged assaults took place over several years.

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