Judge acquits Iqaluit cop on indecent act charge
RCMP member accused of masturbating in presence of foster-daughter
An RCMP member wept and embraced his wife June 23 after a Nunavut judge find him not guilty of committing an indecent act, following a one-day trial held June 22 in Iqaluit.
The police officer, who cannot be named because of his relationship with the complainant, was charged with committing an indecent act over an allegation that he masturbated in front of a 16-year-old foster daughter.
The accused and the complainant each gave evidence at the June 22 trial, along with witnesses who gave evidence concerning other events on the night the incident is alleged to have occurred.
When Justice Robert MacKinnon declared his verdict the day after the trial, he said the accused and the complainant had both been “straightforward” and “credible.”
But he said that where a judge forms a reasonable doubt, the law demands that the accused be found not guilty.
On the night of April 18, 2009, the RCMP member and his wife were at the Storehouse Bar and Grill and then the Legion, while their foster daughter babysat their younger children.
After the Legion closed, the couple returned home with a female relative visiting from out of town whom they invited to spend the night. After the man’s wife checked on the kids, the two women went outside to smoke cigarettes.
At the same time, the RCMP member went to bed in his downstairs room. Outside, the two women could hear a smoke detector going off across the street. The wife knew the alarm had been going all day, so she called the fire department to check it out.
As for what happened inside, the court heard two very different stories.
The girl said she was on the computer upstairs when she heard her foster father call her. She answered, “Huh?” but he kept calling her. Eventually she came downstairs to find out what he wanted.
She cried when she told the court that as she entered the doorway of her foster parents’ room, she saw him lying on his back on the bed wearing nothing but a T-shirt, his hand on his genitals. “He was putting his hand up and down on his… private,” she said after a moment’s pause.
She said she fled back upstairs to her room and awoke her friend, who was billeted in their home on her way back from a trip to Ottawa and sleeping in her bed. It’s not clear what she told her friend, but the friend testified that the foster daughter seemed “scared.”
The friend went back to sleep, and the foster daughter went out for a smoke. The officer said he had called her from downstairs, but it was because he wanted the two girls to stop laughing and giggling when he was trying to sleep. His foster daughter never came to his room, he said, and he flatly denied making any sexual suggestion to her.
He said he wore shorts and a T-shirt to sleep, though he had been above the covers at the time.
The officer says he was not so drunk that he didn’t know what he was doing and says he did not suffer any memory loss. The girl said her friend returned to her community on an early flight the next morning, but couple said in court that the flight was delayed to later in the day, around noon.
The girl did not go home for several days after the incident, but she had on several occasions in the past stayed away from home for several days at a time while drinking, her foster parents said.
She made her statement to the RCMP a week later, after another relative told her to. The girl had been living with the couple on and off since she was five. Her father is dead and her alcoholic mother is unable to care for her.
The girl has left her foster home several times to stay with other relatives, bouncing between two households. Her foster parents said that was because of her misbehaviour, but said they kept taking her in because she has nowhere else to go.