Female police officer relieved by colleague's suspension
Const. Kevin Benloss suspended with pay pending disciplinary investigation
A female Ottawa police officer who accused a male colleague of sexually assaulting her says she's relieved to know he's been suspended pending an ongoing professional standards section investigation.
In a statement Friday, Ottawa police confirmed Const. Kevin Benloss was suspended from duty the day before. Benloss, who is receiving pay while on suspension, is currently the subject of a professional standards investigation.
The female officer's lawyer, Paul Champ, said his client was notified by police of Benloss's suspension on Thursday. Champ said he expects one or more charges of discreditable conduct to be brought against Benloss at the next meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board for approval. (The board must approve charges stemming from any investigation that has taken more than six months.)
"I am happy to know he's FINALLY suspended," the female officer wrote in a text message to CBC. "His access to vulnerable people (including rookies) has always bothered me."
Human rights complaint
The female officer was a rookie herself in 2011, when she said Benloss raped her in his home.
In an ongoing human rights complaint she launched in May 2019, the female officer said that on the night of March 12, 2011, she was at a bar celebrating a colleague's birthday.
Benloss offered to drive the officer home, but along the way he took an unexpected turn and they ended up at his home, she alleged. Later, she said he sexually assaulted her.
The attack made her feel "utterly disgusted," the officer said in her complaint.
In May 2018, the woman reported the assault to the Ontario Provincial Police, and while investigators found "reasonable and probable grounds" to lay charges, the Crown determined there was little chance of a conviction because so much time had passed.
'A step toward healing'
While the criminal investigation is closed, a professional standards investigation is ongoing under the Police Services Act.
The female officer is currently on leave due to what she alleges was a pattern of sex-based harassment and discrimination within the Ottawa Police Service.
"Although it's been a long road, it's a step toward healing," Champ said of his client. "She's been off work now for almost two years on disability while he's remained on duty, with senior leadership at the police service knowing what he was accused of. That was very hard for her."
CBC reached out to the Ottawa Police Association for comment, but union president Matt Skof declined to speak about the case.
The female officer's Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario complaint is currently suspended pending the outcome of the disciplinary investigation, said Champ.
with files from CBC's Judy Trinh