British Columbia

Lawsuits raise new allegations of sexual and psychological abuse by ex-VPD detective

Both women filed claims in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday alleging that James Fisher kissed and groped them.

Civil suits claim James Fisher 'exploited numerous victims' of convicted pimps

Former Vancouver Police detective James Fisher pleaded guilty to breach of trust and sexual exploitation for kissing two young victims of the sex trade. More allegations have been filed since then. (CBC)

Two young women are accusing a disgraced former Vancouver Police detective of sexually abusing and emotionally manipulating them during an investigation into the violent pimp who'd already exploited them.

Both women filed claims in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, alleging that James Fisher sexually assaulted and intimidated them — all during the investigation and prosecution of Reza Moazami for running an underage prostitution ring.

"Fisher took young women and girls that he knew to have already been victimized, that he knew to have been made even more vulnerable by predation by the pimp Moazami, and then further exploited them," Jason Gratl, the young women's lawyer, told CBC.

The women, known as F.A. and F.B. in court documents, are seeking damages for psychological injury and loss of trust in the police, among other alleged harms. The City of Vancouver and the B.C. government, which are liable for the actions of the Vancouver Police Department, are named as defendants alongside Fisher.

"F.B. is not an isolated victim," one of the claim states. "Fisher exploited numerous victims of and witnesses against Moazami and exploited victims and witnesses in other sexual exploitation cases, including victims and witnesses of [convicted pimp] William Michael Bannon."

None of the allegations in the two claims have been proven in court, and no responses to the claims have been filed. A spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department declined to comment.

'Trust, power and authority'

Fisher has already been convicted of breach of trust and sexual exploitation for kissing two other victims of the sex trade, including one of Moazami's victims and another of Bannon's. Fisher was sentenced to 20 months in jail for those crimes.

Since then, other allegations of sexual misconduct have started coming to light.

Moazami is currently appealing his convictions on dozens of criminal counts, alleging that Fisher had sexual contact with six of 11 victims and a key witness before, during and after the trial. Moazami's lawyer told the B.C. Court of Appeal that Fisher had encouraged the young women to lie in court.

The lawsuits filed Monday add new allegations about the psychological impact on these young women. They say that Fisher exploited them while he was acting as a lead investigator, a witness coordinator for Moazami's trial, a victim support worker and a witness support worker.

"Fisher had trust, power and authority over F.B. F.B. was … psychologically and financially vulnerable to him," one of the claims reads.

Reza Moazami is appealing his convictions for running a teenage prostitution ring. (CBC)

The claims allege that Fisher used his power over the young women to kiss and grope them, and inflict "forms of unwanted touching of a sexual nature." The women allege he used their fear of Moazami to manipulate them.

"Fisher threatened F.B. that if she told anyone about his abuse of trust then the prosecution of Moazami might be undermined and Moazami would go free. Fisher knew that F.B. was afraid that if Moazami was free, Moazami would find her and harm her," one claim alleges.

The suits also allege that other members of the VPD breached their duty to the young women by failing to protect them from Fisher.

Both young women continue to deal with psychological challenges as a result, their lawyer alleged.

"Each of them faces a lifelong battle to pull their lives together and carry on through as best they can," Gratl told CBC.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in B.C. journalism, with a focus on the courts, health and social justice issues. She has also reported on human rights and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.