Nunavut RCMP member faces sexual assault charge

Cst. Justin Dickens charged in incident alleged to have occurred two years ago in Baker Lake


(Updated 12:05 p.m., April 30)

A member of the Nunavut RCMP has been charged with sexual assault in connection with an on-duty incident alleged to have taken place two years ago in the Nunavut community of Baker Lake.

“I wish I was here to tell you a different type of story,” Chief Supt. Steve McVarnock told reporters April 30.

McVarnock said that on April 11, police received a complaint of an incident alleged to have involved an RCMP member who had served at the Baker Lake detachment two years ago.

The matter is now in the hands of the Ottawa Police Service, who sent two sexual assault specialists to Nunavut to investigate, McVarnock said.

He did say, however, that the complainant in the case is an adult woman and that the allegation involves a single incident.

McVarnock, the commanding officer of Nunavut’s RCMP “V” Division, said he first requested assistance from the Northwest Territories “G” division of the RCMP “to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine appropriate action and future direction,” police said.

Based on information received from the NWT members, McVarnock said he asked the Ottawa Police Service to step in.

On April 28, Cst. Justin Dickens, who has been recently serving in Whale Cove, was charged with sexual assault under section 271 of the Criminal Code.

Dickens has served in the RCMP for four years, McVarnock said, having begun his RCMP career in Baker Lake.

The constable has been released on an undertaking to appear in court in Baker Lake July 24.

He is currently suspended with pay and on administrative leave, McVarnock said, and another member has been sent to Whale Cove to relieve Dickens.

McVarnock also ordered a separate code of conduct investigation under the RCMP Act.

“Canadians have a right of having high expectations and the trust of their national police service. It is our responsibility to live up to and maintain all aspects of these expectations.”

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