Toronto Police superintendent pleads guilty to misconduct after promotion cheating scandal

Click to play video: 'Toronto police superintendent pleads guilty to misconduct after promotion cheating scandal'
Toronto police superintendent pleads guilty to misconduct after promotion cheating scandal
WATCH ABOVE: A high-ranking senior officer with the Toronto Police Service has pleaded guilty in relation to a cheating scandal on promotional exams. Supt. Stacy Clarke admits she leaked secret questions and answers to six candidates vying for a promotion from constable to sergeant in 2021 – Sep 28, 2023

A senior ranking officer of the Toronto Police Service has pleaded guilty to three counts of breach of confidence, three counts of discreditable conduct and one count of insubordination in connection with a cheating scandal involving officers who were trying to be promoted from constable to sergeant in December 2021.

Superintendent Stacy Clarke, who has been with the Toronto Police since 1998 and who was promoted to superintendent in 2020, becoming the first black woman to achieve that rank within the service, plead guilty to all seven charges of misconduct under the Police Services Act at a tribunal hearing at police headquarters on Thursday morning.

Wearing her police uniform sitting next to her lawyer Joseph Markson, Clarke admitted to leaking questions and answers to six officers who had already taken a written exam and were awaiting promotional interviews in late November and early December 2021.

Clarke, who was the managing superintendent at 42 division at the time, was also a panel member at some of those promotional interviews.

Story continues below advertisement

According to the statement of facts, Clarke, who was acting as a mentor to numerous officers seeking promotion from constable to sergeant, received an email on Nov. 10, 2021 advising her that the cutoff date for mentoring was Nov. 25, 2021.

Clarke acknowledged she read and received the email and despite that met with one officer, R.B., on November 26 near the Whitby Civic Recreation Centre and conducted a mock interview with him.

“On November 29th, Clarke was on an interview panel with two other officers. Shortly after the first interview was completed, Superintendent Clark took screen shots of the questions and answers and texted them to R.B. and J.W. She also sent photos to Constable P.G. whose interview was scheduled for the next day,” read the facts.

On December 3, the tribunal heard that Clarke sent photos to Constable G.B. whose interview was scheduled for the next day and Clarke later instructed G.B. to delete those photos.

Story continues below advertisement

The hearing was told questions for the promotional interviews changed from day to day, and some questions were re-used throughout the interview process. All candidates were provided questions 30 minutes before their interview and after receiving questions, the candidates were sequestered until after their interview, at which time, they had to hand their questions back in.

The only officer to be named Constable Horace Harvey, who has already pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct, met with Clarke at her home on December 3, 4 and 5 after Clarke had already sat on three interview panels.

“She met with him at home, coached him, conducted a mock interview using questions she had in the week prior, sometimes word for word,” read the facts.

The tribunal also heard that Clarke later acted as a member of Harvey’s interview panel but the other panel members were unaware that Harvey was a longtime family friend and she did not admit her conflict of interest to the panel.

On Clarke’s phone “additional messages were found inconsistent to the service’s commitment to anti-racism,” says the agreed statement of facts. The messages were exchanged with a civilian member of the service and an employee of the Toronto Police Services Board.

The hearing heard that the five unnamed officers who were leaked the questions and answers from Clarke were disciplined by receiving ten to twenty days without pay. Harvey was demoted for six months.

Story continues below advertisement

Clarke has been re-assigned within the service since the cheating accusations broke in January 2022. A sentencing hearing is expected to be scheduled within the next few weeks.

Toronto Police Association (TPA) President Jon Reid issued a statement on Thursday about the scandal, noting that since January 2022, the TPA has “been reserved” in public comment on it.

“We have done this because we typically do not comment on active investigations or prosecutions and because it is our clear expectation that investigations, procedural matters, trials, outcomes, and penalties be carried out and applied to senior officers in the same manner as they are to our TPA members,” it said.

“As the sentencing portion of this case draws near, we will be watching very closely to see if the outcome is fair and proportionate to the standard expected of a high-ranking senior officer.

“Without the fair and equal application of the rules, our members will continue to lose faith and the public will continue to lose confidence in the disciplinary system.”


Sponsored content