NEWS

Edmonton Mountie rapped for drinking, sex with subordinates

05/22/2012 06:01 EDT | Updated 07/22/2012 05:12 EDT

A senior Edmonton RCMP officer who hosted drinking parties in his office and pressured female subordinates to have sex with him has been docked 10 days pay, demoted one rank and transferred.

Following a disciplinary hearing for then-Staff Sgt. Don Ray in November 2011, the RCMP Adjudication Board delivered its decision Jan. 13, 2012. That decision has only recently been made public.

Ray was the head of the polygraph unit at K Division in Edmonton from 2006 to 2009 when the complaints took place.

Ray had sex with female subordinates and used his position to favour potential female employees.

Ray also admitted to drinking, and encouraging subordinates to drink alcohol in the office, even stocking the office with beer and rum himself.

The statement of facts say:

- Over a period of a year, beginning in 2006, Ray had a sexual relationship with a female employee, with liaisons taking place in the polygraph suite during lunch breaks and after business hours.

- In late March or early April 2009, Ray opened his pants, exposing his penis to a female employee after a drinking party. He asked her to touch his penis and have sex with him. When she refused, he insisted. She refused again and they left the building without further sexual contact.

- In early April 2009, Ray attended a celebration at a pub in St. Albert, Alta., for the transfer of a co-worker. Ray asked for a ride with a female employee after saying he was too drunk to drive. Ray had sex with the woman in a parking lot.

- Also in 2009, Ray took prospective RCMP hirees out for drinks after meeting with them for security screening interviews and fingerprinting. He also offered to alter security forms for one candidate by extending the length of time she knew one of her character references.

Widespread harassment complaints

RCMP at K Division in Edmonton held a news conference on Tuesday in response to media inquiries about the case.

Chief Supt. Marlin Degrand said the allegations involving Ray first surfaced in Aug. 2009 and became the subject of a formal code of conduct investigation later that month.

"When individuals such as Sgt. Ray make the decisions that they do, and perform the activities such as they do, it cannot help but bring discredit to the rest of us, and it hurts us," said Degrand.

"However, we move forward with the good work that our men and women are committed to doing every day on the streets."

Degrand said dismissal was one of the actions considered by adjudication board

"The adjudication board considered all of the aggravating and as well as mitigating circumstances and this case, they deemed that this member would receive the highest form of sanction short of dismissal," he said.

Ray's disciplinary hearing came amid widespread complaints from female RCMP officers who say they experienced sexual harassment in the force.

In one high-profile complaint in B.C., Cpl. Catherine Galliford claimed she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after years of sexual harassment since joining the RCMP in 1991.

In describing the impact of Ray's actions on their lives, his victims wrote how they lost their faith in the RCMP.

The statements "were particularly troubling, revealing wounds which...will require some time and attention to heal," said the three senior RCMP officers who participated in the disciplinary hearing.

"It will take considerable effort to rebuild the damaged trust in our organization."

In their sentencing, the officers considered Ray's high ranking and position at the time and the "serial, repetitive nature of the acts."

"Staff Sgt. Ray should have known better," said their report. "Our organization relies upon its senior [non-commissioned officers] to set a good example for younger members."

But the board also considered Ray's willingness to admit wrongdoing, his lack of any prior record and his "sincere expressions of regret and remorse."

While the officers said they considered dismissal and a considerable demotion, they relied heavily on a joint submission to reach its decision.

Ray was demoted to sergeant and was posted to British Columbia.

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