New lawsuit alleges sexual harassment of crime victim by Kelowna RCMP officer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New lawsuit alleges sexual harassment of crime victim by Kelowna RCMP officer

December 31, 2019 - 12:28 PM

A former Kelowna Mountie already facing criminal charges related to allegations of sexual misconduct is now being sued by a woman who claims she suffered psychological and financial harm as a result of both his and his colleagues’ harassment.

In a civil suit filed Dec. 30, by lawyer Michael Patterson, Brian Matthew Burkett is alleged to have not only sexually harassed a victim of crime he was called upon to help, but also influenced other RCMP members to carry out actions that left her feeling unsafe. The Attorney General of Canada and B.C.’s minister of justice are also named in the suit.

According to the suit, in May 2016, the woman was a victim of a domestic assault that a neighbour reported to the RCMP.

READ MORE: Civil suit filed against former Kelowna Mountie

Burkett went to the woman’s house alone to take pictures of her injuries and while there took her cell phone number and work number. She thought it was normal procedure, however “to her surprise and distress” the suit reads, Burkett used the information to sexually harass her.

“Burkett sent the plaintiff, via text, inappropriate pictures of himself,” the suit reads. “In addition, Burkett sent the plaintiff messages stating that he would be visiting the plaintiff while he was on shift. Burkett also informed the plaintiff that when he (visited) her he (expected) certain sexual favours.”

Burkett was allegedly specific about the acts that he expected to receive and when the woman ignored his messages, the suit claims he threatened to assault her.

For an undisclosed duration, this type of harassment allegedly continued and the woman received threatening phone calls at work and through Facebook.

The suit claims that Burkett continued to harass the woman on Facebook “even after the RCMP arrested him for breach of trust.”

The persistent sexual harassment by Burkett caused the woman to suffer psychological harm and lose her job, but the suit alleges her losses didn’t stop there.

His colleagues, aware that the woman had suffered emotional harm as a result of Burkett’s sexual harassment, subjected her to more "improper behaviour."\

READ MORE: Former Mountie faces criminal charges

“When the plaintiff was recovering from surgery at home, in October 2016, Kelowna RCMP members broke down the door to her home, startled the plaintiff from sleep, detained and forced her into a police vehicle against her will and drove her to the hospital,” the suit alleges. “The plaintiff was informed by the RCMP members that they got an anonymous tip she was unwell.”

They didn’t inquire about her condition or look into the reliability of their tip, it alleges. Worse, the woman was never admitted or treated for medical issues.

“The arbitrary detention of the plaintiff left her confused and terrified,” reads the suit. “The plaintiff hired a taxi and went home from the hospital shortly after the RCMP members departed.”

With the assistance of her friends and family, the woman replaced the door to her home that the Kelowna RCMP damaged.

The plaintiff, her friends and her mother contacted the RCMP watch commander on several occasions and left messages in an attempt to get an explanation for the behaviour of the Kelowna RCMP members. Those calls, according to the suit, were never answered.

“The Kelowna RCMP members arbitrarily detained the plaintiff in retaliation for the reporting of Burkett’s actions,” the suit claims, adding that she was never advised of her charter rights.

In the aftermath of these events, the woman is said to have lost her job when she took time off to deal with related stress and anxiety.

“The plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer substantial losses in earnings, equity and other employment benefits and has incurred other economic losses,” reads the suit.

“The defendants committed the acts herein despicably, maliciously and oppressively with the wrongful intention of injuring the plaintiff by engaging in improper behaviour amounting to malice and in conscious disregard of the rights and welfare of the plaintiff.”

The woman's identity is being protected due to the related criminal matter, which includes seven potential victims.

It's the second civil suit against Burkett, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

None of the allegations in any of the lawsuits have been proven. A statement of defence has not yet been filed.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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