Nunavik police officer cleared of wrongdoing
Young Tasiujaq woman allegedly sexually assaulted while in officer’s custody
A Nunavik police officer who was on duty in Tasiujaq the night a young woman was allegedly sexually assaulted while in custody has been cleared of any wrongdoing, an investigation has concluded.
A young woman prisoner is alleged to have been sexually assaulted by a male prisoner in the back of a Kativik Regional Police Force patrol truck in Tasiujaq last Sept. 19.
The woman, who was reportedly in an intoxicated state, was picked up by a female KRPF officer that evening after a large alcohol shipment into Tasiujaq fueled several parties.
The officer is alleged to have handcuffed the woman before stopping at another residence to put a man, also in an intoxicated state, but not handcuffed, into the back of the same vehicle.
Responding to a complaint, the officer then stopped at yet another residence to pick up a third man.
During the police officer’s absence, the woman prisoner was alleged to have been sexually assaulted by the male prisoner who was already in the truck.
The KRPF suspended the officer following the incident and launched an internal investigation that wrapped up in December.
Its findings were handed over to Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, who recently cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.
“The analysis concludes that there were no criminal infractions committed by the officer,” said Jean Pascal Boucher, a spokesperson for the office of the director of criminal and penal prosecutions.
But Boucher said his office cannot release further details about the investigation, such as the officer’s status at the time of the incident.
Sources told Nunatsiaq News that the police officer on duty Sept. 19 was not a full-fledged member of the KRPF, but a rookie officer or “special constable,” with only police college training and hired under Sec. 107 or 108 of Quebec’s police act.
Under this, a “special constable” can be appointed for a period of not more than four months, by “the director of the police force…to prevent and repress offences under the municipal by-laws in all or part of the territory of the municipality.”
The police officer was also reported to be the only officer on duty in the community that night, despite a recent assurance from the KRPF that the force had enough officers to staff at least three per community.
The KRPF suspended the officer under investigation, although it’s not clear if she has returned to work for the force.
The Tasiujaq man accused of raping the young female prisoner faces one charge of sexual assault related to the Sept. 19 incident as well as a charge of breach of probation.
Joe Kritik, 24, is scheduled to appear in Kuujjuaq court later this month.
The female victim cannot be identified. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, sexual assault victims cannot be identified by news organizations.