One of three remaining candidates for commissioner of the RCMP job was accused of helping an officer at the centre of a sexual misconduct scandal, CBC News has learned.
Deputy Commissioner Peter German was alleged in a statement of claim to have aided Sgt. Robert Blundell, who was facing allegations he had assaulted and sexually harassed four female Mounties.
The court document alleged that German gave Blundell copies of the internal investigation file before Blundell was interviewed by investigators.
"Documents have come to the surface to suggest now deputy commissioner Peter German had shared the complainants’ statements with Mr. Blundell and that allowed him to prepare or tailor his responses in the interview," said Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ, who wasn't directly involved in the case, but has worked on behalf of other clients who've sued the RCMP.
"Those are the kinds of things that are very troubling. Sergeant Blundell's career was obviously in serious jeopardy and a lot of people knew that. And evidently there were other superior officers who were willing to reach out and give him a hand," said Champ.
In an email to CBC News after the story was broadcast Wednesday, German said he did nothing improper and did not intercede personally as Blundell prepared for his disciplinary case.
"At no time did I provide files or statements to the member under investigation," German said.
German also said that RCMP policy allows officers like Blundell, who are facing disciplinary proceedings, to see the details of accusations made against them. The details likely would have been accessed for the officer by an RCMP staff relations representative.
"I just adamantly deny the allegations in that particular statement of claim. A statement of claim has to be proven in court and that civil suit never went to court to my knowledge," said German.
German also said that many organizations face sexual harassment issues and that the RCMP was working to enforce its policy of zero tolerance.
Claims of systemic harassment
'If you complain, you are blacklisted.' —Former RCMP officer Sandra Kelly
Former constable Sandra Kelly also said she left the RCMP because of the way women were treated.
"I get goosebumps because I just get so filled with, I guess rage, almost, that these things happen," Kelly told CBC News. "If you complain, you are blacklisted."
The statement of claim also said German was one of a number of officers who created a negative climate for women who tried to complain about harassment.
"I think that's probably what breaks officers more than anything is that after they're treated so unfairly the RCMP doesn't back them up," said Champ.
"They say there's zero tolerance for harassment in the RCMP but I think every RCMP officer in the force knows that's a joke."
Those allegations against German and other RCMP officers were not tested in court. The 2003 lawsuit by the four women was settled without the details being disclosed.
Blundell faced internal discipline, which resulted in him losing a day of vacation time. He has since been promoted.
VIDEO CLARIFICATION: In a video story that aired on The National on November 9, 2011, we reported on an allegation in a Statement of Claim that then RCMP Superintendent Peter German improperly disclosed statements to Robert Blundell. We are not aware of any evidence to support that allegation. CBC apologizes if it left the impression that now Deputy Commissioner German made any improper disclosure. STORY CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this online text story reported an allegation that German provided information to Blundell prior to Blundell's disciplinary hearing for alleged sexual harassment. To clarify, German said in a statement to CBC News Thursday that at no time did he provide files or statements to Blundell.Dec 15, 2011 3:55 AM PT