British Columbia

RCMP officer's sex coercion claims dismissed

A female RCMP officer is facing sanctions for having sex in a police car with another officer, after her claims of coercion were dismissed by an RCMP board in Vancouver Friday.

An RCMP code of conduct hearing in Vancouver has ruled against a female Mountie who claimed her supervisor coerced her into a sexual relationship and sexually assaulted her.

On Friday, the board rejected Const. Susan Gastaldo's claim that she was forced into a lengthy relationship with a superior, Staff Sgt. Travis Pearson.

RCMP adjudicators found both officers guilty of disgraceful conduct for having sex in a police car and misusing RCMP equipment to send romantic text messages.

Gastaldo's defence during the hearing was based on the claim that Pearson abused his power, coercing her into a sexual relationship by preying on her anxieties.

But the three male adjudicators dismissed the claim, saying that "no reasonable woman" would stay in contact with a sexual assailant after the assault.

They also said they could not accept that she sincerely believed that Pearson controlled her career in the force.

An RCMP prosecutor and Gastaldo's defence counsel made a joint submission for a reprimand and seven days docked pay, but the adjudicators rejected it, saying options up to dismissal have to be considered.

They also called for harsh sanctions against Pearson, including possible demotion .

With files from the CBC's Jason Proctor