A female Mountie from British Columbia has launched a second lawsuit against the national police force, alleging she has been harassed and humiliated since the late 1980s.
In a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Const. Karen Katz alleges she has been subjected to “offensive, humiliating and demeaning comments,” has been called fat, was asked to perform oral sex on male colleagues and was even accused of being a security risk because of her research into biker gangs.
Const. Katz, who has authored four books on outlaw biker culture, said she now suffers from a variety of health disorders, including post-traumatic stress, bulimia and severe abdominal pain because of the continual harassment and abuse.
“I live in the abyss,” Const. Katz told The Canadian Press in an interview.
“Did I deserve this? No. I joined the RCMP to be an RCMP officer and serve the Canadian public.
“I didn’t join to be told I was fat, and that, you know, to be sexually assaulted, to be sexually harassed and harassed. I joined because I wanted to do intelligence work on outlaw biker gangs.”
None of Const. Katz’s allegations have been proven in court and no charges have been laid.
Her most-recent court action adds to a number of lawsuits that have been filed by current and former female Mounties against the RCMP since last fall.
The allegations of harassment within the force have prompted Commissioner Bob Paulson to pledge that he will root out what he calls “dark-hearted behaviour” from the Mounties.
RCMP Supt. Ray Bernoties declined to comment on the most recent lawsuit Sunday.
“The RCMP has not had the opportunity to review these unproven allegations but at some point all the facts will be known and all statements will be made under oath in court,” he said in an email to The Canadian Press.
“Until then, it would be inappropriate to speculate or to comment further.”
Earlier this year, Const. Katz filed a separate lawsuit against a fellow officer and the provincial and federal governments over allegations of harassment and sexual assault. None of those allegations have been proven in court.
Const. Katz has written four crime books, including “Devilz Dollz: The Secret World of Women in the Outlaw Biker Subculture,” and she holds one undergraduate degree, two graduate degrees and is currently enrolled in a PhD program in law.
She said she has been keeping notes and collecting evidence on her alleged abuse for years in an effort to protect herself.
In her most recent lawsuit, which was filed last week, Const. Katz alleges the harassment began while she was undergoing her basic training in Regina, Sask., in 1989.
“She was required by the officer in charge to go on what was known as ‘fat parade’ each morning,” says the statement of claim. “On fat parade the plaintiff had to appear in front of a number of male corporals and tell them how much she weighed.
“She was then called fat and constantly reminded of how fat she was.”
While in the cafeteria, Const. Katz would allegedly be yelled at if she selected a dessert, says the document.
Her first posting was in Prince George, B.C., and while there Const. Katz said she was the recipient of many sexual comments, including ones suggesting in vulgar terms that she should provide sexual services. “‘Karen, you are just the right height to put a beer on your head and you can give me ... (oral sex),” the statement of claim says.
Const. Katz alleges that male members of the force also talked about the sizes of their penises, how good they were in bed and asked who she was sleeping with.
After transferring to North Vancouver, Const. Katz alleges she was accused of being a security risk, being “infatuated with outlaw motorcycle gangs,” and finding “large bearded and scruffy Hell’s Angels type men appealing,” the documents said.
Court documents state Const. Katz was the focus of a code of conduct investigation in March 1997 for allegedly making contact with a secret relocated witness, but those allegations were later found to be unsubstantiated.
After transferring to the RCMP’s protective services, Const. Katz alleges she was subjected to pornographic images on computers, posters of nude women in the men’s change room which was continually left open, continual comments regarding her breast implants, unwelcome shoulder rubs from male members and being kissed on the cheek.
Const. Katz said she has been on sick leave since 2009 and is now seeking general and specific damages, as well a compensation for the loss of opportunity and future income, cost of care, as well as aggravated and punitive damages
“The reasons I stayed was because I’ve always wanted to be a police officer in the RCMP and serving the Canadian public,” she said.
“I tolerated it, but I tolerated it with a notebook on the side, taking notes ... getting copies of my health services files, my personnel files, my every file, keeping track, knowing I was a target.”