Headlines

SIU to investigate Hamilton cop who preyed on sex workers

The province’s police overseer has launched an investigation into the conduct of a Hamilton police officer who has pleaded guilty to having inappropriate sexual relationships with women he was supposed to help.

Hamilton police did not notify SIU about Sgt. Derek Mellor's charges

Sgt. Derek Mellor is a 14-year veteran of the service who was once the lead of Hamilton Police’s anti-human trafficking initiative dubbed “Project Rescue.” He has pleaded guilty to nine sex-related police act charges, and now is facing two more from a separate incident. (Terry Asma/CBC)

The province’s police overseer has launched an investigation into the conduct of a Hamilton police officer who had inappropriate sexual relationships with women he was supposed to help.

The timing of the investigation is unusual, coming months after Sgt. Derek Mellor plead guilty to a series of Police Act charges.

It's being launched now because Hamilton police did not notify the provincial Special Investigations Unit about the charges — even though local police are mandated to do so in Ontario. He plead guilty in February of this year.

Mellor, a 14-year veteran of the service, was once the lead of Hamilton Police’s anti-human trafficking initiative dubbed “Project Rescue.”

“I can confirm that the SIU has invoked it’s mandate in relation to this matter,” SIU spokesperson Jasbir Brar said. “The SIU learned of this incident through media reports and accordingly contacted the Hamilton Police Service for further information.”

The SIU is mandated to conduct criminal investigations into serious injury and death incidents as well as allegations of sexual assault in cases involving police in Ontario.

Police chief must immediately notify SIU, spokesperson says

Brar says that as per the Police Services act, it is mandatory for a chief of police to "immediately" notify the SIU when an incident like this takes place. Most of the time, police services do just that, she says.

"However in a very small number of cases notification comes through other means, whether they be directly from the complainant or a family member, his/her lawyer, medical personnel or as in this case the media," she said.

Police spokesperson Catherine Martin told CBC Hamilton in an email that she could not comment on the investigation. “As SIU has invoked its mandate, we are not able to provide any further comment,” she said. Martin did not respond when asked why Hamilton police didn't tell the SIU about it.

Mellor pleaded guilty to nine Police Services Act charges earlier this year after engaging in sexual acts and sending lewd messages as well as photos and videos of his penis to sex workers and colleagues.

Mellor pleads guilty to assorted sex charges

As part of an agreed statement of facts, Mellor admitted to undertaking a sexual relationship with the mother of a woman whose human trafficking case he was working on. He admitted to engaging in sexual activity with her on the side of a rural road, sending her pictures of his penis and a three-second video of him masturbating.

He also pleaded guilty to sending sexual photos and texts to two women who worked with the human trafficking volunteer organization “Walk With Me,” and pursuing sexual relationships with two sex workers.

Mellor also pleaded guilty to having sex with a woman who was a sex worker and a potential witness in a human trafficking case.

Mellor's Police Services Act hearing that will decide if he gets to keep his job resumes on Sept. 29. The hearing is expected to resume again in early November as well.

“The ongoing Police Services Act will continue to proceed as scheduled,” Martin said.

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