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London officer charged with breach of trust following Waterloo Regional Police investigation

A uniformed London police patch, September 6, 2017.
A uniformed London police patch, September 6, 2017. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

A London police officer was arrested and charged on Thursday with breach of trust following an investigation by the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) that was launched in July 2016.

READ MORE: London police chief addresses officers facing charges, vows to be transparent and accountable

London’s police chief, John Pare, requested the investigation and the officer has been suspended with pay since March 27, 2017; police chiefs are unable to suspend without pay under the Police Services Act.

Const. Sergio Mendez-Vargas, 33, has been released from custody and is due in court Feb. 21. Mendez-Vargas has five years’ service and remains suspended with pay.

READ MORE: OPP charge London police officer in investigation launched at request of police chief

“With the charges before the courts,” Pare said, “I can’t comment on the details of the investigation, but I can say the allegations, if proven, are contrary to what is expected of all of our employees.”

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The charge announced Thursday is the latest blemish on the London Police Service. Just last week, an officer issued a formal apology after photos showing her in blackface taken in 2006 surfaced over the holidays on social media.

In mid-December, Pare announced that police would notify the public each time an officer is criminally charged in an effort to improve transparency. At that point, seven officers were actively facing charges. Among them was an unidentified officer, first charged in late November with sexual assault in connection with an alleged off-duty incident, charged by WRPS in early December after an additional victim came forward, and charged again by London police in mid-December in connection with allegations that took place after the officer was first charged.

Since then, one officer was handed a conditional discharge and sentenced to probation for two years after pleading guilty to assault.

READ MORE: London police officer charged after SIU probe into arrest of a 60-year-old man

Of the seven officers currently facing charges, five face charges resulting from investigations launched by the police service itself, while two face charges as a result Special Investigations Unit (SIU) probes.