RCMP officer tried to initiate 'sexual relationship' with 16-year-old girl: misconduct decision

An Alberta RCMP officer tried to facilitate a sexual relationship through inappropriate text messages with a 16-year-old girl, according to a decision posted following a conduct hearing.

Martin and the girl coached lacrosse together in 2019

Calgary-based RCMP Const. Dan Martin has been found guilty of discreditable conduct under the RCMP Act for an inappropriate texting relationship he had with a 16-year-old girl he coached with in 2019. (Airdrie RCMP)

An Alberta RCMP officer tried to facilitate a sexual relationship through inappropriate text messages with a 16-year-old girl, according to a decision posted following a conduct hearing.

Daniel Martin and the girl — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — coached lacrosse together in 2019. 

In July, RCMP confirmed Const. Daniel Martin, who was working for the emergency response team in southern Alberta at the time, was ordered to resign following a hearing presided over by Josée Thibault.

Now, Thibault's 46-page decision has been published online and offers new details about Martin's misconduct under the RCMP Act.

"I find that he knowingly engaged in text messaging with [the teen] for the purposes of his own sexual gratification and to facilitate or advance some kind of sexual relationship with her," wrote Thibault.

"I fail to understand why a 40-year-old man, a father, a husband, a trained RCMP member with extensive coaching expertise with youth needs to engage in progressively more sexualized conversations with a 16-year-old."

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Deanna Fontaine confirmed Martin was discharged on July 28, 2021. 

Teen felt 'uncomfortable telling him to stop'

In the summer of 2019, when the two were coaching together, the teen's mother discovered concerning text message exchanges between her daughter and the 40-year-old officer. 

She took screenshots and then confronted her daughter, who the mother described as "relieved that someone found out."

"She was told not to tell anybody and I just reaffirmed with her that she has done nothing wrong, she is not in trouble and he could not do anything to her," said the mother in her testimony at the hearing.

The victim also testified, telling the presiding officer that she tried to avoid conversations with Martin because she knew he would become inappropriate.

"I knew he was a police officer and I didn't know if he would keep these messages and that I would get into trouble," she said.

"I just felt almost uncomfortable telling him to stop even though I should have because I knew that this was wrong."

'I know I walk the line'

She also said Martin told her to delete messages he'd sent.

The text exchanges confirm what the girl explained. That she would often answer Martin's flirtatious messages with one word or an emoji, when she felt uncomfortable.

On one occasion, Martin commented that it had been raining out and asked the girl if she was wearing a white t-shirt.

The girl responded with two smiling emojis. 

"I know I walk the line with being offside," he said later in the conversation.

Martin was often commenting on the girl's feet and toenail polish.

"I like your feet … have you painted them lately?" he asked one day. 

'I trusted him'

When she said she had, he sent a drooling emoji.

Five days later, he said he had spotted her in a shirt that "shows off your belly."

Then he told the 16-year-old that she "looked great."

Thibault found Martin "befriended her, cultivated her trust, established an emotional connection where she felt comfortable in confiding in him and steered the conversion towards sexual topics."

The girl acknowledged that she'd looked up to Martin as a mentor. 

"I trusted him and he definitely betrayed that."

One day after the victim's mother filed a complaint with the RCMP, Martin was suspended by Alberta Lacrosse Association. 

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team did review the file but determined alongside the Crown prosecution service that, "while concerning, the evidence did not meet the elements of criminal harassment or luring of a child," under the Criminal Code.