N.S. RCMP member not facing charges in alleged groping incidents
A Nova Scotia RCMP officer who allegedly grabbed the breasts of two fellow tactical team members during a teambuilding exercise will not face sexual assault charges, after an investigation by the province’s police watchdog.
The Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) investigation began on April 18 and concluded on May 25. Although the initial report involved one “affected party (AP),” the investigation found two women had complaints against the male RCMP member.
According to a final report released on Friday, members of the RCMP “H” Division Tactical Team were conducting semi-annual training exercises at CFB Aldershot on April 17, and had a private function at a licensed establishment. The investigation notes that beer and food was served at the function, which ended near midnight.
The investigation revealed that at the end of the night, as the officers were waiting to pay their bills, the subject officer (SO) put both hands up a woman’s shirt. Another officer pulled the woman away, and when she looked back to see who had done this to her, she saw him do the same thing to another woman.
SiRT says the second woman told the investigation that she felt a hand come up under her shirt from behind. She swatted it away and when she felt the hand again, she turned to the SO and punched him in the face.
Both women said they did not know the SO.
The SO was described as extremely drunk by several witnesses, including the second woman.
While en route to the barracks on the bus, he reportedly vomited.
SiRT says they reviewed statements from the women, an eyewitness and peripheral witness.
“The SO declined to contribute to the investigation,” the SiRT report notes.
The investigation found that both women were touched “in circumstances of a sexual nature, without their consent” so a charge of sexual assault could have been brought against the officer.
However, the two women indicated in writing they did not want to move forward with criminal charges. So, SiRT says no charges will be laid.
“The details of the offences are not such that the public interest outweighs the clear wishes of both APs,” SiRT said.
In a statement to Global News, Const. Natasha Dantiste of Nova Scotia RCMP said the officer has been suspended with pay since April and the RCMP is conducting an internal Code of Conduct investigation.
“We have taken these allegations seriously which is demonstrated by our involvement of the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team,” Const. Dantiste said.
“We have also ensured those affected by the incidents have been provided with support.”
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