British Columbia

Female Mountie keeps her job after groping a fellow B.C. officer twice

A B.C. Mountie who fondled the genitals of one of her fellow constables, groped his thigh and made inappropriate sexual comments to him has lost 20 days of pay and 10 vacation days.

Const. Valerie Little docked 20 days' pay and 10 vacation days for discreditable conduct

Const. Valerie Little groped a fellow officer in the Vernon detachment on two separate occasions in 2009 and 2010. (Maria Jose Burgos/CBC )

A B.C. Mountie who fondled the genitals of one of her fellow constables, groped his thigh and made inappropriate sexual comments to him has lost 20 days of pay and 10 vacation days.

Because of her discreditable conduct, Campbell River Const. Valerie Little will also be ineligible for promotion for two years, has to work under supervision for one year and is restricted from working in the same detachment as the man she groped, according to a January decision from the RCMP's conduct board.

"I find that a reasonable person in society, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances, including the realities of policing in general and the RCMP in particular, would view Const. Little's actions as likely to bring discredit to the force," Josée Thibault wrote in the board's decision.

But Thibault said Little's actions don't meet the bar for firing, because the officer has shown "potential to reform or rehabilitate" by completing a university degree and consulting with a psychologist every week.

At the time of the sexual violations, Little was a new recruit in the Vernon detachment and worked alongside the male victim, who is referred to as Const. A.F. in the decision.

Little groped A.F. without his consent on two separate occasions between late 2009 and early 2010, according to the decision.

Little fondled fellow officer during broomball tourney

The first incident happened on an unknown date while the two constables were observing serious crimes officers interviewing the suspect in a sex crime.

"At one point in the interview, when the male suspect was discussing his own sexual preferences, you leaned over to Constable A. F. and placed your right hand on his left thigh and quietly whispered in his ear words to the effect of: 'I like to take it from behind,' " Thibault wrote.

The second took place when the Vernon RCMP entered a team in a community broomball tournament on Feb. 3, 2010.

Little approached A.F. in a hallway, where he was leaning against the wall, according to the decision.

"You proceeded to grab the penis of Const. A. F. and squeezed his penis with your fingers while stating: 'I see you're not wearing a cup.' Const. A. F. was wearing athletic wear including thin polyester shorts at the time you grabbed onto his penis," Thibault wrote.

"You sexually assaulted Const. A. F. Const. A. F. was embarrassed and shocked by your unwanted sexual advance and responded by walking away from you."

Little has been posted to the Campbell River detachment since 2015. (CBC News)

A.F. went to a senior female officer to ask for help dealing with what had happened to him, but she just "chuckled," according to the decision.

That same superior officer, now retired, told the conduct board that she very briefly addressed the issue with Little, telling her something to the effect of "You gotta keep your hands to yourself; it'll get you in trouble."

Little and A.F. never discussed what had happened and he left the Vernon detachment in 2011.

Victim 'was completely overwhelmed'

A.F. reported the assaults to RCMP brass after a chance meeting with Little before a psychologist appointment in 2018. That's when he learned that Little would be transferring to the Nanaimo detachment, where he worked.

"He was completely overwhelmed and never thought that he would see her again. As a result, he spent his entire session with the psychologist talking this through. He felt stuck and knew he could not work with her as he was afraid something else may happen," Thibault said.

As a result of his complaint, Little's planned transfer to the Nanaimo detachment never materialized. She has been posted to Campbell River since 2015.

Little has no previous discipline record, according to the decision, and she denied assaulting her fellow officer. However, the conduct board found A.F.'s version of events to be more probable.

Thibault wrote that it was unlikely A.F. would make up the allegations against Little, "as the less embarrassing and stressful route would have been to not file a sexual misconduct complaint … which subjected him to making public statements and testifying at this hearing."

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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