RCMP officer 'afforded leave' from N.W.T. community after past sexual assault comes to light
Const. Randy McKay was given conditional discharge in 2016, after pleading guilty to sexual assault
The chief of Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., says an RCMP officer was asked to leave the community earlier this month after it came to light that the constable had pleaded guilty to sexual assault four years ago.
Chief Danny Masuzumi told CBC News on Monday that Const. Randy McKay was sent out of Fort Good Hope by the RCMP on May 16, after community members became aware that he had previously pleaded guilty to sexual assault.
At the time, RCMP would not confirm if McKay had left the community, but on Tuesday RCMP spokesperson Marie York-Condon confirmed McKay was no longer in the community. She said he was "afforded leave" and that the RCMP are working with the community to determine the next steps.
Masuzumi says he believes McKay had been serving in the community for between six to eight months.
"Why Fort Good Hope? Why bring someone into the community that's got this background?" Masuzumi said.
"Maybe they figured the community won't know or nobody would do a background check."
A 2016 CBC article on McKay's sentence was anonymously posted on bulletin boards around the community, accompanied by a handwritten note encouraging community members to "be ready to use your cameras upon confrontation" with McKay.
A photo of the article has also been widely shared on Facebook.
"The RCMP takes concerns of community leaders very seriously as we strive to maintain public confidence and trust," RCMP G Division spokesperson Julie Plourde wrote in an email to CBC News.
"To that end, the detachment commander and district officer are engaged to meet and work with community leadership in understanding and addressing those concerns in Fort Good Hope."
2015 sexual assault
In May 2015, while stationed in Buffalo Narrows, Sask., McKay was accused of sexual assault while at a social gathering outside of the community.
McKay was suspended with pay after RCMP launched an internal code of conduct investigation. He was formally charged with sexual assault in October 2015 and pleaded guilty.
In January 2016, McKay was sentenced to a conditional discharge, meaning he would be discharged by the court if he completed 12 months of probation and submitted a DNA sample. After successfully serving his probation, the offence automatically disappeared from his record.
A conditional discharge is typically used for crimes with no bodily harm, and for offenders who have no previous convictions.
Plourde says RCMP officers can continue working with the police force after being convicted of a crime.
"A police officer is subject to a full review of the circumstances that occurred. A senior officer in the RCMP then reviews any such case to determine a range of outcomes. This process is comprehensive," Plourde wrote in the email.
"Each case is different depending on circumstances that have occurred. In some cases, police officers continue with their role."
Masuzumi says he believes the community has lost some of its trust in the RCMP following this incident.
"It wasn't really good for him to be here. For the RCMP to have someone in their staff with this background wasn't a very good show of respect for the community," he said.
"I'm still kind of left in despair. We don't know who we're going to get next. The RCMP has to do their due diligence and screen their officers. I'm pretty sure the RCMP has a reputation to protect and they got to do that in a proper manner."