‘I’m in shock’: Toronto police rule out charges after 30 women accuse former RCMP doctor of sexual assault

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Toronto police sex crimes investigators say there are « no grounds » to lay criminal charges against a former RCMP doctor. That’s despite 30 women alleging they were sexually assaulted during mandatory medical exams when hired by the police force in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

« The Toronto Police Service does not dispute that these women felt (and continue to feel) violated, » said police spokesperson Meaghan Gray in an email Tuesday. However, she said investigators reviewed medical standards at the time and determined there is a lack of evidence « to prove there was a sexual purpose » to the doctor’s exams.

« I think it’s a lot of bullshit. I’m in shock, » said Vicki Gravelle, a 911 dispatcher for a regional police force in Ontario, no longer with the RCMP.

Gravelle and two others came forward to CBC News last month, detailing sexual assault allegations against former RCMP doctor John A. Macdougall, saying he inappropriately pinched nipples, conducted invasive vaginal exams without gloves, caressed their legs and pushed his pelvis against their naked backsides as they were told to bend forward during « spinal exams. »

Gravelle and two others came forward to CBC News last month, detailing sexual assault allegations against former RCMP doctor John A. Macdougall. (Rachel Houlihan/CBC)

The women complained to the RCMP, Toronto police and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario at the time, but their concerns went nowhere.

In early 2018, Toronto police reopened their investigation after dozens of women came forward, emboldened by the #MeToo movement, alleging they too were assaulted by Macdougall.

‘No grounds’ for charges

Macdougall retired in 2001. He is now in his mid-80s and lives in a retirement home west of Toronto. According to his lawyer, Macdougall has dementia, suffered near-fatal pneumonia recently and is living with around-the clock care. His family has declined to comment.

But in 1991, when the three women first complained to Ontario’s medical regulator, Macdougall explained he elected to do lengthy breast exams on new recruits in an effort to teach self-examination technique. He was silent on the other allegations of unwanted touching and invasive vaginal exams.

Following the women’s complaints the RCMP banned all staff physicians from conducting gynecological exams and laid out proper breast-exam techniques.

This photo of John A. Macdougall was taken when he graduated from the University of Toronto in 1963. (University of Toronto)

Toronto police on Tuesday told CBC News that they « know that many involved in this case are angry and frustrated. » But they say they have closed the file after review of the 30 women’s statements and are « confident » in their decision not to lay charges.

« Our investigative efforts were unbiased and extended beyond these statements to include a review of documentation, consideration for case law and research into what may have been acceptable medical practice at the time, » said Gray in her statement.

« We had to determine whether or not grounds existed to prove there was a sexual purpose for the actions that took place. Without those grounds, we simply could not lay charges. … We know that many involved in this case are angry and frustrated but, pending any new information that is brought forward, we are confident in the decisions we have made. »

‘I am flabbergasted’

Sylvie Corriveau, one of the three women to complain about. Macdougall in the 1990s, says she is « disillusioned » by the Toronto police decision.

« You have 30-odd strangers stating the same thing, and the doctor’s word means more, » said Corriveau, a senior RCMP employee based in Ottawa. « Many of the victims are still serving peace officers, do their sworn statements not mean anything? »

Watch Sylvie Corriveau describe when she knew the doctor was abusing his authority:

RCMP ‘OVERLOOKED’ COMPLAINTS OF SEX ASSAULTS DURING EXAM, RECRUITS ALLEGE 1:09

She flatly rejects that Macdougall’s actions were in any way legitimate and maintains he was seeking sexual gratification during her exam.

« If the investigators did in fact state that his techniques were acceptable medical tests back then … I am flabbergasted, because they were not, » Corriveau told CBC News.

Gravelle says she can’t understand why Macdougall’s medical training has any bearing on the allegations by the 30 complainants. « I don’t understand what any of that has to do with anything. If he’s archaically been trained … it’s still inappropriate behaviour, conducted to a woman in an office, behind closed doors in secret, and still under the threat: « You do this or I’m going to have your job. »

Complaint filed against Toronto police

Helen Henderson, who received compensation last month from an RCMP class action fund for abuse victims based on her encounter with Macdougall, says she is enraged Toronto police will not lay criminal charges.

« It’s absolutely devastating after all of our efforts, » Henderson said.

She’s filed a formal complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director demanding a review of the Toronto police investigation. 

Henderson says she is enraged Toronto police will not lay criminal charges against Macdougall. (Rachel Houlihan/CBC)

« They didn’t do their job, » Henderson says.

Another woman, Laurel Hodder, describes the Toronto police decision as « devastating. » She is pressing ahead with her own lawsuit against Macdougall and the RCMP. Hodder was sent to see Macdougall despite senior brass being aware of complaints against the doctor.

« It makes you feel like you don’t matter, » said Hodder.

Send tips to dave.seglins@cbc.ca or rachel.houlihan@cbc.ca  
 

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Harassment, sexual assault among alleged misconduct by border agents investigated by CBSA

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The Canada Border Services Agency, which has the authority to detain and search Canadians and carry out deportations, investigated 1,200 allegations against its own staff over a two and a half year period from January 2016 to the middle of 2018.

Documents obtained by CBC News through an access to information request describe a wide range of alleged offences among agency staff, including criminal association, excessive force and using « inappropriate sexual language. »

One staff member apparently created « a hit list for employees who crossed him. » Other allegations appear more minor, such as sleeping on the job or calling in sick to attend a wedding. 

The records released by the CBSA don’t show which allegations were found to be credible or what actions the agency took to address specific problems. 

They come from a database of internal investigations undertaken by CBSA in response to complaints about conduct.

The database provides a rare glimpse into how one of the largest policing bodies in the country handles complaints against its own. The CBSA remains the only major law enforcement body that has no outside oversight of staff conduct. 

Toronto immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk said the CBSA needs outside oversight. (John LeSavage/CBC)

« CBSA, for many years, has been a law unto itself, » said Toronto immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk.

« It’s hard to imagine an organization with the size and the complexity and the amount of responsibility and authority of an agency like this would be completely without any kind of oversight. » 

50 categories of offenses

A CBC News analysis found 50 different categories of offenses. The largest number are filed under « neglect of duty, » with 228 total allegations, followed by 183 allegations of « discreditable conduct » while on duty. 

The agency also investigated 59 allegations of harassment, 38 allegations of « criminal association » and at least five allegations of sexual assault. 

Specific details are redacted in some cases but not all. For example, one employee was accused of « selling prohibited knives. » Another « may have conducted an unauthorized query of an ex-[girlfriend]. »

Roughly, a quarter of misconduct cases involved multiple allegations, including a small number of cases with more than a dozen allegations each. 

 

There are reasons to believe the actual number of misconduct allegations against CBSA officers is far higher than what was disclosed to CBC News, according to Sandaluk. 

It can be difficult to convince people to file complaints, he said. Some people who come into contact with the CBSA over immigration issues decide not to file legitimate complaints about staff, fearing repercussions from the agency.

Temporary residents and visitors to Canada, Sandaluk said, « simply aren’t around long enough to make a complaint or to see that complaint through. »

« These allegations — as disturbing as they are —  probably only represent the tip of the iceberg, » he said.

They ‘kept kicking my back with their knees’

Lucy Granados, who was deported to Guatemala last year, alleges CBSA officers seriously injured her during an arrest. Granados arrived in Canada in 2009 and remained in Montreal after making a failed refugee claim.

When Granados applied for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, the border agency moved to deport her, sending four officers to her Montreal apartment building last year. 

Internal reports written by three of the arresting officers and obtained by CBC News from a group advocating on behalf of Granados indicate one officer wrote that some force was necessary because Granados would not surrender her hand to be cuffed.

Lucy Granados was deported to Guatemala last year. Granados said she was seriously injured during an arrest by CBSA agents prior to her deportation. (Dave St. Amant/CBC)

Granados, who didn’t file a complaint, said at least one CBSA officer violently pushed her to the ground and kneeled on her back while pulling on her arm. It’s unclear if her case was a part of the database.

« They pulled it backwards and kept kicking my back with their knees, » Granados said in a video-link interview with CBC News, speaking through a translator.

CBC News shared the reports, which are filed any time force is used during an arrest, with CBSA spokesperson Nicholas Dorion. 

« CBSA officers are trained in the use of force and are expected to follow all related CBSA rules and procedures, » Dorion said in an email.

« While unfortunate, CBSA officers do encounter circumstances where use of force is necessary. » 

Complaint to CBSA ‘doesn’t really lead anywhere’

Dorion would not say whether Granados’s removal prompted any internal investigation into staff conduct, citing privacy legislation.

« A specific individual’s file, including those from internal investigations resulting from an external complaint to the CBSA or from any alleged misconduct behaviour or other personnel security and professional standards issues reported by managers, is protected by these parameters, » Dorion said in an email.

Dr. Nazila Bettache reviewed Granados’s medical file and concluded she suffered a traumatic injury during her arrest. (Dave St. Amant/CBC)

Nazila Bettache, a Montreal-based physician and social justice activist who reviewed Granados’s medical file, said Granados suffered « a traumatic injury … which basically damaged the nerves in her cervical spine, » causing paralysis in her arm.

« Where is the accountability? » she said. « Who was there to … look after the situation and make sure that procedures are respected, that there is no abuse of power? »

Granados said she still suffers from a lack of feeling in her arm.

Advocates for undocumented workers who knew Granados when she lived in Montreal said they have so little faith in CBSA’s ability to police itself, they’ve encouraged her to pursue a complaint through the United Nations rather than with the CBSA.

« We have enough experience to know that making a complaint to the CBSA about the CBSA doesn’t really lead anywhere, » said Mary Foster of the group Solidarity Across Borders.

Mary Foster of the activist group Solidarity Across Borders says she has no faith in the CBSA’s complaint process. (Dave St Amant/CBC)

Even if Granados had filed a complaint, there’s no assurance it would appear in the numbers released by the CBSA.

Public complaints submitted online are initially filed separately, a CBSA spokesperson said. After review, the allegations may be reported to the Personnel Security and Professional Standards Division (PSPSD), in which case they would be added to the database.  

« Allegations are inputted in the database and are thoroughly investigated to determine whether they are founded, » a spokesperson said in an email. 

Liberals still promising legislation 

The Liberal government has been promising to introduce legislation to add an oversight process.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in 2016 that the lack of CBSA oversight was « a gap that definitely needs to be addressed. »

« CBSA officers processed 95 million travellers in 2017, and only a very small number of these interactions led to a formal complaint, » Goodale’s spokesperson, Scott Bardsley, said in an email. 

His office declined an interview request but said the minister is still committed to creating oversight legislation.

With an election looming this fall, however, it’s not clear any legislation could be passed before the current session of the House of Commons is finished.

« As long as you don’t create this agency, misconduct or harassment can occur on an ongoing basis, essentially unanswered, » Sandaluk said. 

If you have tips or story suggestions send them to diana.swain@cbc.ca or stephen.davis@cbc.ca

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Regina sailor charged with sexual assault at Halifax base in 2018

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A reservist with a unit from Regina has been charged with sexual assault in connection with an alleged incident a CFB Halifax in March 2018.

The Canadian Armed Forces Department of National Defence says military police in Halifax received a report in June 2018 of a possible sexual assault that was alleged to have occurred at the end of March 2018.

READ MORE: Sexual assault charge laid against Canadian Armed Forces member

The investigation began at the complainant’s request, and as a result, Ordinary Seaman David Katabarwa, a reservist with HMCS Queen, has been charged with one count of sexual assault.

Katabarwa was a full-time employee at CFB Halifax at the time of the alleged assault.

READ MORE: Sexual assault charges laid against Canadian Armed Forces member in Halifax

Katabarwa is scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court on March 4.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Claire Fitzsimmons Is the Sexual Wellness Guide We Didn’t Know We Needed

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In Person of Interest, we talk to the people catching our eye right now about what they’re doing, eating, reading, and loving. Next up is Claire Fitzsimmons, founder and director of Salty, a newsletter and online publication exploring modern dating, sex, and relationships for women, trans, and non-binary people.

In the world of wellness, there’s a bit of an illusion when it comes to sex. Everyone and their mother is glowing, doing tantric yoga, and looking “accidentally” cute with their S.O. in matching, sustainably made leisurewear—but is anyone talking about, uh, the sex itself?

Claire Fitzsimmons is.

Photo courtesy of Salty

Fitzsimmons is the founder of Salty, a weekly-ish newsletter and online publication full of the sex and dating advice we all wanted but were afraid to ask for, like texting templates that help you set boundaries and essays about how kink can help heal emotional trauma. Fitzsimmons herself is a powerhouse non-binary femme and a staple of the NYC fashion and nightlife scene. “I’m not a Cosmopolitan girl, I’m not Alluring, I’m not Glamorous, and I’m not in Vogue, that’s for sure,” she tells me in an e-mail. Instead, Ms. Fitz (as she is commonly known) is all about amplifying non-cis-heteronormative voices that are not often heard. “Collaboration means listening to others first,” Fitzsimmons says.

Sustaining a digital platform that highlights NSFW content that isn’t porn has been incredibly challenging, and Fitzsimmons has encountered obstacles (i.e., the patriarchy) every step of the way. Salty kept getting booted from mass e-mail platforms, and Instagram/Facebook refused to allow promotional posts (and kept deleting photos with even the hint of a nipple). Then hackers deleted their whole site after Salty broke an important #MeToo story. Still, the bright, brash voice of Salty cuts through the millennial pink clouds of other sex and dating sites. “Salt is visceral and human,” says Fitzsimmons. “Sweat is salty, tears are salty, sex tastes salty.”

Here’s what Ms. Fitz has to say about sex and saltiness in all its forms.

What keeps me going despite the haters… is all the amazing supporters who are super vocal. There are hackers, MRAs, trolls, and tone police, too. It comes with the territory. If you’re on the internet all day, it’s easy to think the world is full of assholes, but the thing to remember when it all seems too much is that you don’t hear the people who don’t say anything. Most people are reasonable and kind. There are way more silent supporters than there are people who want to bring you down. And I know that because I see the numbers, and I read the lovely messages from our community.

I’ve learned… to stop trying to please everyone. In the beginning of Salty I would get so upset if someone said something mean or rude about our mission, but over time I’ve come to realize that no matter what you do, someone is going to have a problem with it, so you might as well just do you.

I blow off steam by… riding my bike through Brooklyn. Oh and masturbating, duh!

Sexual wellness is… essential for your mental wellness.

My favorite sex toy is… my faithful rabbit! (I’m old school).

I’m always snacking on… CBD gummies. They are my JAM! Also iced tea. After I quit booze and coffee a year ago (#soberlife) I’ve become hopelessly addicted to iced tea. I like really shitty American iced tea from Dunkin Donuts (sorry, Healthyish). But it’s better than the alternatives. I snack on popcorn, too.

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Laval police looking for sexual abuse suspect pretending to work for a CLSC – Montreal

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Laval police are asking people for help in identifying a suspect in sexual abuse investigation.

The incident happened in a home in Chomedey in Dec. 6.

According to police, a man showed up at the victim’s door and identified himself as a CLSC nurse.

Watch below: Program offers hope to survivors of abuse






Because the victim was expecting someone, she let him in. He then exposed himself to her, police say. She immediately pushed him aside and kicked him out of the house, police say.

Officers say the man simply walked away. However, he showed up again at the victim’s home on Dec. 14, police say. This time around, when she opened the door, police say the victim recognized the man and shut the door.


READ MORE:
A new approach to victims of sexual exploitation: Longueuil police changing how they help

Police say the CLSC confirmed the suspect is not an employee. The man is described as dark-skinned, aged between 25 and 30 years old. He measured around 170 cm and is of medium build. He was wearing a dark coat with a fur hood and a red backpack.

If you have information, call Ligne-Info at 450-662-INFO (4636), or 911, and mention file number LVL 181206 097.

 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Disgusting’: Ex-Mountie who won first sexual harassment suit against the RCMP says little has changed

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Alice Clark wanted to be a Mountie before women were even permitted to join the force.

But when she joined in 1981, it wasn’t the honourable job she was expecting. After experiencing years of harassment, Clark left the force and became the first woman to successfully sue the RCMP for sexual harassment.


READ MORE:
$220M and counting: The cost of the RCMP’s ‘culture of dysfunction’

It’s been 25 years since, and while she’s grateful that more women are coming forward to support one another, she hasn’t seen the change she was hoping for.

“It’s disgusting that things haven’t changed,” she says.

WATCH: Alice Clark on the sexual harassment and culture of bullying in the RCMP







Whether the recently announced civilian advisory board will be able to address the scourge of sexual harassment in the RCMP remains to be seen. However, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said its first priority will be addressing internal bullying and harassment. Since Clark first came forward, more than 3,100 sexual harassment claims have been made under the Merlo-Davidson class-action settlement alone.

“I earned my right to wear that serge,” she says, decades later, her voice breaking. “I knew they were doing this to other people, too, and it had to stop.”

It didn’t. The RCMP settled the Merlo-Davidson suit for $100 million in 2016. Former commissioner Bob Paulson offered an unequivocal apology: “We failed you.”

Alice Clark, pictured at home in Nanaimo, B.C., with her RCMP graduation photo from 1981.

Jane Gerster/Global News

Mounties get their ma’am

Clark looked at the red serge and saw honour and integrity. And then: “Mounties finally get their ma’am,” read the caption in the March 4, 1975 edition of the Toronto Star. The picture shows the first, stern-faced women Mounties in skirts and fancy red shirts, arms swinging straight as they marched.

Clark joined their ranks in 1981; she is beaming in her graduation photo. She started in Bonnyville, Alta., as the detachment’s first woman, and another followed soon after.

WATCH: Alice Clark explains how male troops in the RCMP used to bark at female troops during training







When Clark was transferred southwest to Red Deer in September 1981, the harassment began.

There were plastic breasts left on her desk, she says, and a supervisor who called every man by his name but patted her shoulder and called her “dearie.” There were the men who told her to go home, have a baby and be a “real woman,” other men who called her foul words and others still who insisted she was a “waste of a uniform.” Then, there was the Mountie who asked her to have sex with him in the back of his squad car while she was guarding a dead body. An RCMP spokesperson said the force would not provide specific comment on Clark’s case.

WATCH: Why the first woman to sue the RCMP for sexual harassment wanted to be a Mountie







The stress started to get to her. Clark could barely get through a single workday so she thought in 15-minute increments: 15, deep breath, another 15, deep breath, half-hour gone.

“It was horrible,” Clark says.

When she could no longer bear to go to work, Clark filed an internal harassment complaint and took a transfer north to Beaverlodge. Work was starting to get better, she says, and then within a span of weeks, she got a note saying her harassment complaint was unfounded. Soon after, her sergeant told her the RCMP had laid assault charges against her in connection with old arrests.

It was unexpected, Clark says. In one case, she had been tasked with dealing with a drunk woman who refused to take off her jewelry and “things kind of went downhill from there.” Clark characterizes it as “hair-pulling” incident (she pulled the woman’s hair) in which her colleagues watched rather than assisted. In the second case, she says, she had pulled over a drunk driver after a high-speed chase. She didn’t realize the woman was quite small when she pulled her out of her car, Clark says, but as soon as she did she adjusted her hold.

Clark was done.

She quit in 1987, thinking the Mounties would drop the charges and finally leave her alone. They didn’t. After she was acquitted of the charges, Clark sued. She maintains that the force only charged her because she never shied away from speaking up about sexual harassment.An RCMP spokesperson said the force would not provide specific comment on Clark’s case.

“I put so much of myself into that job, into that serge,” Clark says, her voice almost breaking.

“I gave them a piece of me, a big chunk, and it was not easy for me to lay that harassment complaint. It wasn’t easy to turn in my red serge.”

From one woman to thousands

Janet Merlo remembers the nasty comments from people on the internet when she took her story public: She can’t take a joke, she has no place in the force, I bet she wishes she’d been harassed, she’s a shitty cop, she’s probably a terrible mother.

She was there in 2016 when Paulson, the former RCMP commissioner, apologized on behalf of the force to its women members.

WATCH: Historian explains how the Mounties’ modern scandals are nothing new







Now and then, Merlo says, women send her copies of the statements they plan to submit as part of their application for compensation under the $100-million settlement.

The women detail sexual assaults and unlawful confinements and other similarly serious charges, Merlo says. She reads the statements, which independent investigators are still combing through, evaluating and — when deemed credible — assigning a monetary value. So far, investigators have opened more than 3,100 claims.

RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson, left, answers a question during a news conference, as plaintiffs Janet Merlo, centre, and Linda Davidson look on, in Ottawa Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Paulson has apologized to hundreds of current and former female officers and employees for alleged incidents of bullying, discrimination and harassment.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The public likely won’t hear those stories, even the ones deemed credible. The information they submit is not shared with the force. Per an RCMP spokesperson, the force only reviews information if a claimant “chooses to bring [it] forward” and it concerns a serving member.

“We’ve had a public apology, they’re paying all these RCMP female victims money,” says Dr. Greg Passey, a psychiatrist who has worked with Mounties for more than two decades. “But how many of the accused, how many of the harassers have actually come forward and there’s been any accountability?

RCMP spokesperson Daniel Brien said the RCMP “does not have the authority to provide information on specific conduct files to the public and media” due to privacy legislation but that employees are “expected to conduct themselves in a manner that meets the rightfully high expectations of Canadians.”

Without those stories, Passey says, the country “truly doesn’t understand the extent of this problem.”


READ MORE:
Resistance to reform: Is civilian oversight the magic bullet the Mounties need?

While the RCMP has acknowledged that it failed its female members, Merlo says she’s still waiting for accountability.

“What other organization in Canada can have a lawsuit so big, and yet nobody has ever been investigated?” she says. “Nobody is charged. Nobody is reprimanded. Nobody is fired. We’re not talking bad jokes here. We’re talking sexual assaults and unlawful confinement. All kinds of serious charges.”

Brien said the force is “focused on taking any steps possible to ensure a safe and respectful work environment” and noted that the RCMP has “enhanced and updated established policies and programs” in support of that goal.

‘You get so beaten down in this process’

Deciding to speak publicly against the RCMP isn’t easy, says Alice Fox, a former Mountie discharged in late 2017.

Fox has fought her own battles with the RCMP and is fighting one now with PTSD. She’s trying to articulate why the Mounties — women in particular — haven’t seemed to be able to make a difference, even decades after women like Clark made national news by going public with the sexual harassment they faced.

WATCH: ‘Being a martyr in this game will kill you,’ says former Mountie







“You get so beaten down in this process,” Fox says. Her voice is slow and her words carefully chosen, in part because she has a non-disclosure agreement with the force as the result of a harassment lawsuit she settled with them in November 2017. Many Mounties, past and present, are careful with their words for similar reasons; some won’t even talk, the risk feels too great.

“Being silenced is a difficult place to be,” Fox says, “but it’s the best place to be if it means you get to live.”

The RCMP did not respond to requests for comment about its use of non-disclosure agreements.

That women who were harassed in the 1980s and into the 21st century say there has been no internal accountability should be cause for concern, says Passey, the doctor who works with Mounties and specializes in PTSD.

WATCH: ‘The population truly doesn’t understand the extent of this problem’







The federal government has had years and years to deal with this, he says — a 2013 Senate report urged federal leadership to act, noting there is “little margin for error” — but instead, Canada has gone from a handful of women like Clark to thousands, not including the thousands of men coming forward with their own $1.1-billion class-action harassment lawsuit.

“The whole culture is used to this whole idea of being able to abuse power without any accountability, without any responsibility,” says Passey.

RCMP spokesperson Brien noted that the force’s “members are subject to the same laws as all Canadian citizens.”

People would face repercussions for their actions if there was accountability, both Clark and Passey agree. And yet, Passey says, when allegations are made public, there don’t seem to be any consequences.


View link »

Clark remembers watching the formal RCMP apology. She was insulted. What did leaders of the force do when they saw women being harassed? Did they step up or speak out? She wants to know. It’s a question many have asked: how many of the harassers or those who witnessed harassment but said nothing have come forward, have been held to account?

Brien said the force is bound to an extent by privacy legislation but that it “addresses conduct issues in a timely, efficient and fair manner.”

Clark is still waiting for an answer.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Wife of gymnastics coach on trial for sexual assault suspended from coaching

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The wife of a former national gymnastics coach undergoing trial for sexual assault has been suspended by Gymnastics Canada. 

The suspension of Elizabeth Brubaker, a coach at the Bluewater Gymnastics Club in Sarnia, Ont., comes less than a month before her husband, Dave Brubaker, will learn his fate in a Sarnia court. Dave Brubaker is a former Olympic women’s gymnastics coach who has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation. Elizabeth Brubaker is facing no criminal charges.

A judge is expected to hand down a verdict on the charges facing Dave Brubaker on Feb. 13.

In a statement Monday afternoon, Gymnastics Canada said it suspended Elizabeth Brubaker after receiving « a number of written formal complaints… that outlined alleged violations of Gymnastics Canada’s ethics and code of conduct policies over an extended period of time a number of years ago. »

Gymnastics Ontario wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of the complaints but said the provisional suspension « is in keeping with Gymnastics Canada’s complaint management protocol. » An investigation into the complaints is expected to take up to a month to complete.

« In the meantime, Gymnastics Canada and Gymnastics Ontario will work closely with the Bluewater Club to ensure that the competition and training needs of all athletes in the Club remain well served, » the Gymnastics Canada statement said.

Elizabeth Brubaker has also been provisionally suspended by Gymnastics Ontario and the Bluewater Gymnastics Club.

Coached at Rio Olympics

The complainant in the case against Dave Brubaker testified in court in December that Brubaker touched her inappropriately during sports massages, starting when she was 12 years old. Brubaker denies the charges, but admitted that he would kiss the complainant on the lips to say hello and goodbye.

The charges relate to alleged incidents between 2000 and 2007. The complainant is now in her 30s.

Brubaker was Canada’s head gymnastics coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics and was the women’s national team director at the last year’s world championships in Montreal, where Halifax native Ellie Black captured the women’s all-around silver medal.

Dave Brubaker has been placed on administrative leave by Gymnastics Ontario.

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4 ways police are fighting the ‘dramatic’ increase in child sexual abuse online

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The Saskatchewan police officers who target online sexual predators say they’re being driven to use a range of investigative methods in order to slow down a problem that’s seen a dramatic increase.

Over the past five years their caseload has more than doubled.

« There’s just not enough time in the day to get to every file and some of them have to be put on the backburner until we have a lull, » said Scott Lambie, the staff sergeant in charge of the Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE).

He said he and the 10 officers who work with him feel like they’re using a teacup to empty a swimming pool.

« Each officer is basically doing twice the work that they were doing when the unit started, » said Lambie. 

In 2013, the Sask. ICE unit opened 192 new files. In 2018, it opened almost 400.

There are similar units in every province and they are also seeing rapid growth in investigative files. In 2017, Statistics Canada released a report which showed child pornography offences had increased by 233 per cent over the decade. Experts attribute that growth to new technology which has enabled offenders to easily record, upload and distribute child pornography online. 

« There’s lots of files that we could be working on but the resources sort of limit of what we can go after, » Lambie said. 

He said a file jumps to the top of the list if a child appears to be in imminent danger.

For example, police learned within the past three weeks about a sexualized video of a naked nine-year-old Saskatchewan girl posted on Youtube. Lambie said now they have to figure out who’s responsible.

« There’s only two really two routes for it to get posted on YouTube, » he said. « There’s a third-party offender involved or the child self-exploited and did it herself. »

Lambie said that as horrific as it sounds, clips being posted to YouTube « isn’t uncommon. »

And he said that’s why police are using every tool available to crack down.

1. Undercover investigations 24/7

Last week, CBC’s iTeam highlighted an example of an undercover operation run by ICE.

One of Lambie’s male officers posed as a 15-year-old girl named Aurora and responded to an online ad posted by 57-year-old Rodney Barras. After three weeks of texting back and forth, police had enough evidence to pursue charges against Barras.

Lambie said these sorts of investigations are not nine-to-five. Officers take their investigative tools home and sometimes even text their targets while at home with their own children.

In 2015, CBC interviewed Rodney Barras for a story about his website Babes-Behind-Bars.com. In 2017, Barras pleaded guilty to attempting to lure someone he thought was a child and to possession of child pornography. (CBC News)

At other times, officers will join online chat groups or social media apps, attempting to make personal connections with people sharing child pornography.

« The internet is all about anonymity. Who we’re talking to doesn’t really know who we are as well as we don’t really know who they are, » Lambie said.

Lambie said diving into this world is « a really creepy part of the job » but it’s necessary in order to find people who cloak themselves in secrecy.

In some cases, police have struck a goldmine when « they’ve managed to acquire a lot of contact information from this person’s devices and share that across the world with the other police agencies. »

Lambie said many investigations require a massive amount of time.

In one extreme recent case, they arrested a man with a collection of 24 million images and videos.

Police suspected he may have been creating child porn, so they had to divide the images up between every officer in the unit and comb through them one-by-one. 

Sergeant Scott Lambie says Saskatchewan’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit has seen an explosion of growth in online offences. (CBC News)

2. Facebook helps catch pedophiles

Lambie said his unit receives a steady stream of solid tips from south of the border.

U.S. law requires internet service providers and social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to report any instances of child pornography being shared through their services.

« They report that to their National Center (for Missing & Exploited Children) in the United States who funnels it up to Canada and eventually to the ICE unit where the offense is believed to have occurred, » he said.

He said this process used to take months but now things move at an astonishing pace. He said if someone were to share child pornography through Facebook today « they can get it up to our desks from the U.S. within a week. »

Lambie said police have software that can identify anyone sharing child pornography through peer-to-peer software. (CBC News)

Lambie said Saskatchewan receives 250-300 of these tips every year « and by the time it gets to us, it’s an investigative file … It’s got child pornography in it already identified by somebody down the line. » The U.S.-based NCMEC passes on similar tips for provinces across Canada and countries around the world. 

Lambie’s officers can then go to court and ask a judge for permission to learn the name and address of the person behind the IP address who shared that pornographic image. 

Then the tough police work begins.

« Whether that leads to charges at the end of the day, we have to look at the totality of the evidence. » 

3. Live monitoring shows thousands sharing child porn

Thousands of people in Saskatchewan and across Canada are sharing child pornography right now. Police have the tools to watch them do it and target them for arrest.

These images are commonly shared through what is known as peer-to-peer software. These programs allow people to share files around the world from a publicly-accessible folder on their own computer.

Lambie said because those folders are public, police are able to look inside and compare the contents to a massive database of every image or video of child pornography ever identified by law enforcement around the globe.

This map flags the computers that were sharing suspected child pornography in Saskatchewan at noon on Friday. As you zoom in on specific cities, more flags are revealed. (CBC News)

Lambie explained that every image contains it’s own « hash value » or « DNA footprint. » 

« If that image is shared or that video was shared that hash value was known because of this library. »

Lambie said the software shows a map of the province and flags every computer in the province that is sharing known child pornography. He said there are thousands of them and each case could legitimately be investigated by police, but because of the sheer volume, the software also flags the top ten offenders.

This is the number of computers that were sharing suspected child pornography in Regina at noon on Friday, according to police software. As you zoom in, more flags are revealed and police say each one could be an investigation. (CBC News)

« We just try to hit the top ones off the list and work our way down trying to reduce the availability of it to other people around the world. »

Lambie said once they find an address for a potential offender, that can lead to uncomfortable conversations.

« Six people in the home — all of them are hooked on to the internet. Which one is actually committing the crime? »

He said through their investigation they can usually figure out which device was used to share the images but ultimately, police have to knock on the door.

He said that often begins a series of « life-altering » conversations.

« The ‘not-involved’ parties don’t have a clue what’s going on. Only the suspect really knows what’s going on, » he said. « It’s very difficult for a spouse to then have to admit to their other spouse that yes it’s me. »

In virtually every situation that « spouse » is a man. Lambie could only recall one case where a female was a suspect.

He said sometimes, officers are surprised by the response.

« Recently, we went through a door and the guy said yes you got me I did it … Take me away. »

In other cases, people aggressively deny doing anything wrong. Lambie said some of them have worked hard to cover their tracks. He referenced one frustrating case.

« We thought we had him dead to rights and we knocked on the door, do the search, gather all the digital evidence and after we analyze it there’s nothing there, » Lambie recalled. « We know how they did it but we just couldn’t find the artifact evidence to prove that they did it. »

4. Teens targeted through social media

Lambie said one of his greatest concerns is the increase of teens being targeted for abuse and sexual extortion through social media.

He said every week he hears another story of a teen, usually a girl, who shared nude images of herself with someone online and is now in a crisis.

« Those are mostly through the walk-ins where the mom or the parent has finally been told by the child that this is actually going on. Now they’re scared. What do I do now? »

He estimated this happens about 10 times a month in Saskatchewan.

Lambie said that most social media apps that teens use like Snapchat, Messenger, Kik or Instagram can be infiltrated by men looking to exploit children who are often easy targets.

Lambie said predators use popular social media apps to target teens. (CBC)

He said online predators are savvy and often several steps ahead of their target. They start by making the teen think they are friends and then pour on the flattery.

« The pedophile just makes the female feel great about themselves, » he said.

Then, the requests begin.

« They start by getting them to just send some basic pictures and then it’s topless pictures and then it’s panty pictures and then it’s naked pictures, » Lambie said.

« Before you know it they’re threatening the child to expose them to their their friends on Facebook to family members and the child gets scared and then they’re stuck in this whole sextortion. »

He said once those images have been shared they quickly move around the world and can haunt the teen for years.

He said it’s up to parents to be aware that pedophiles are hunting their children.

« The parents should be aware of what their children are doing with their phone or their computer or any online application, » he said.

He said parents need to check their children’s « friends » list on social media app and ask their kids if they have personally met them or just interacted online. He said many predators hide behind fake profiles.

When asked for his best advice to parents he replied quickly.

« Take phones away from kids. »

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Some Quebec universities, CEGEPs miss deadline for sexual violence policies – Montreal

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In Quebec, several CEGEPs and two universities have failed to adopt a policy to prevent and fight sexual violence on campus by the Jan. 1 deadline set by the province.

The provincial government published a list of post-secondary institutions on Thursday that have complied with the measure, including Concordia University and John Abbott College.

Two Montreal universities and more than a dozen CEGEPs are notably absent from that list — including McGill University, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Dawson College and Marianapolis College.

READ MORE: Quebec sexual assault bill focuses on campuses

Bill 151 was passed into law by the previous Liberal government in December 2017 following several high-profile sexual misconduct allegations in Quebec.

It requires all post-secondary institutions to adopt a policy to prevent sexual violence by Jan. 1, 2019 and implement it by September 2019. It has to be separate from the school’s other policies.

Under the law, they must also have formal complaint procedures, safety measures for social activities and support services in place.

Montreal universities working to catch up

Both McGill University and UQAM said on Friday their institutions are working toward adopting a new policy.

At McGill, the current rule, which was implemented in 2016, remains in place.

WATCH: Concordia and McGill react to Quebec’s new campus sexual assault bill






“Throughout the fall of 2018, it has been carefully reviewed through extensive consultation with our campus stakeholders to ensure that our revisions to the policy reflect both the requirements of Bill 151 and the needs and goals of the McGill community,” said associate provost Angela Campbell in a statement.

“These revisions to the policy will come to the senate and the Board of Governors for approval this semester. In the meantime, McGill’s current policy and the resources associated with it to prevent and fight sexual violence, remain active and in force.”

READ MORE: McGill professors back students, call for external investigation on misconduct allegations

UQAM spokesperson Jenny Desrochers said the French-language university’s new policy surrounding sexual violence will be adopted over the next few weeks.

“In the meantime, our policy against sexual harassment is still in effect,” she said.

‘Unacceptable’ says minister who put forth law

Quebec Liberal MNA and former minister for higher education Hélène David, who put forth Bill 151, expressed her disappointment about schools lagging behind the deadline.

On social media, she described the finding as “unacceptable.”

READ MORE: Quebec unanimously passes motion to prevent sexual assault against athletes

“The fight against sexual misconduct must be a priority,” she said.

David also called on Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge to intervene. She said he should put more effort into ensuring all universities and CEGEPs adopt the policy without delay.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Montreal priest found guilty of sexual assault, sexual touching – Montreal

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Montreal priest Brian Boucher has been found guilty on three charges of sexual assault and sexual touching.

The victim, now in his 20s, was a minor at the time.

READ MORE: Montreal priest takes the stand and denies allegations in sexual abuse trial

He said he suffered years of abuse, claiming it began when Boucher asked him about his sexual feelings.

The victim said it escalated to sexual touching, oral sex and penetration.

Tuesday, the judge said the defendant was asking the court to believe the unbelievable when it came to the defence’s argument that the victim had fabricated the abuse as retaliation for a prior incident where he was reprimanded by Boucher.

READ MORE: Montreal Catholic Church moving towards forbidding priests from being alone with children

Boucher was arrested in March 2017.

He had started working as the parish priest at a church in Montreal’s Town of Mount Royal (TMR) in 2005.

He was heavily involved in all activities at the Our Lady of the Annunciation Church, including helping children with their first communions and confirmations.

WATCH BELOW: Questions raised about when Catholic Church learned of allegations against Father Boucher






In 2014, Boucher abruptly left the church, without finishing his mandate, to head to Washington for theological studies.

READ MORE: Montreal priest charged with sexual assault spanning 15 years

A publication ban prohibited any details of the case(s) that could identify any of the boys.

Boucher is expected back in court Jan. 21 for a separate trial.

WATCH BELOW: A priest from a parish in Town of Mount Royal was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual touching






© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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