British Columbia

Richmond firefighters accused of obstruction of justice

A former commanding officer of the Richmond RCMP says he believes some firefighters obstructed justice or destroyed evidence during a 1998 police investigation into allegations of sexual molestation.

A former commanding officer of the Richmond RCMP says he believes some firefighters obstructed justice or destroyed evidence during a 1998 police investigation into allegations of sexual molestation.

Those accusations dated back to the late 1970s, and involved teenage girls.



The Richmond Fire Department is at the
centre of sexual harassment controversy
that has led to revelations about the
alleged molestation of three teenaged
girls back in the 1970s. (CBC)
Former RCMP superintendent Ernie MacAulay says some Richmond firefighters were accused of having sex with girls between the ages of 14 and 16 – below the age of consent at the time – at a firehall.

The police investigation never led to any criminal charges – in part because the alleged victims did not agree to testify.

Speaking on CBC Radio's The Early Edition, MacAulay said he had concerns that that was the result of actions by some firefighters.

"We only had first names of victims. We didn't have any details about who the victims were. But of course that would have been well known within the fire department," he said.

"And in the time period between the time that we were able to get from just knowing the first names to actually locating these people and interviewing them, members of the fire department had the opportunity to contact these victims and perhaps dissuade them from speaking to us."

MacAulay's concerns about obstruction of justice are included in court documents filed this week as part of a sexual harassment lawsuit against the fire department and the City of Richmond.

A spokesperson for the city says the information in the sworn affidavits is unproven, and the city is preparing its response to the accusations.

Richmond's female firefighters recently decided not to report for work, saying they were the targets of widespread sexual harassment by male firefighters. This has prompted city council to order an independent review of the situation.

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