A family from Assiniboia, Sask., says they feel cheated after a former RCMP officer, who they said they thought they could trust, took advantage of their son’s legacy and allegedly stole money from a fundraiser he helped organized.
Annette and John Mattson remember their son Spencer as full of life and a big sports fan, with a promising career in carpentry.
“He would light up a room when he walked into it, he always liked to have fun and he made everybody laugh,” Annette Mattson said.
“He was working for a construction company and he was loving it. He was doing a lot of work on his own as well.”
But four years ago, the 21-year-old’s bright future came to an abrupt end when he took his own life in August 2015.
“I talked to him that night and the last thing he said was ‘I love you, mom,'” Mattson said.
Looking back, Annette says there were signs of depression, but at the time the loss left his loved ones in shock.
“I don’t think there was ever a time when we were together and didn’t have fun,” his close friend Jessica Burns said. “I was heartbroken. It’s very sad especially when you don’t see it coming and it’s like, why didn’t I notice? Why couldn’t I have seen the signs to help him?”
Burns says she and Spencer were close since kindergarten, and when the family was approached by former RCMP officer Jason St. Pierre to organize a fundraiser, they assumed he wanted to help.
“I know Assiniboia as a whole was really broken over Spencer passing away, so it was a good way for everybody to come together and share in our grief. I thought it was an excellent idea,” Burns said.
On Dec. 23, 2015, the community gathered at the Assiniboia Civic Centre for the Spencer Mattson Memorial Hockey Game and raised more than $16,000 for mental health initiatives. Burns says St. Pierre was in charge of the money and distributing funds.
“I helped get a lot of the donations, I made up a lot of the posters for the game, did a lot of the social media advertising for it,” Burns said.
“I would say I had a part in everything other than taking payments. That was something Jason had said he would take control over, which I didn’t see a problem with. I mean, I thought who better than an RCMP officer to do something like that?”
But just over a year later, in January 2017, the family learned the devastating truth. No funds were found in the charity’s bank account and police said a review of the bank account found over $16,000 had been withdrawn and the account closed.
“We were angry and we were hurt,” Mattson said. “We felt like we were preyed on because of our misfortune. The whole community was grieving and I feel he preyed on that.”
St. Pierre became the subject of an RCMP code of conduct investigation and was suspended with pay. He resigned from the force on June 1, 2018, and the code of conduct process ended as it only applies to serving RCMP officers.
St. Pierre, 42, was served his criminal breach of trust charges on May 27. He is scheduled in court on Aug. 8.
“Hopefully the justice system works, I’d like to see the money put back to where it’s supposed to be,” John said.
Despite all that’s happened, family and friends continue to fundraise and help those struggling with mental health. Refusing to let the actions of one man tarnish their son’s legacy.