RCMP leaders are defending a decision not to fire a senior Mountie for disgraceful conduct that includes have sex with subordinates, exposing himself to a co-worker and drinking on the job.
Staff Sergeant Don Ray was instead reprimanded, demoted one rank and fined 10 days pay for his transgressions that happened while he was in charge of the behavioural sciences unit at RCMP K Division headquarters in Edmonton.
A report by an internal disciplinary board released Tuesday said Staff Sgt. Ray deserved a break because of his long years of satisfactory service and support from other Mounties.
“Staff Sergeant Ray’s career record and contributions, some of which were attested to in strong letters of support provided from subordinates, colleagues and supervisors stood him in good steed,” reads the report.
“Staff Sergeant Ray has continued support in the workplace.”
The board’s report says Staff Sgt. Ray admitted to seven counts of disgraceful conduct on the job between 2006 and 2009.
They include stocking the office with rum and beer and offering drinks to subordinates, having sex with a civilian subordinate and exposing himself to a co-worker.
Staff Sgt. Ray said he had sex with a different co-worker in the headquarters’ polygraph office after drinking beer and had sex inside a car in a parking lot with another employee after visiting a pub.
He also made inappropriate sexual comments to a woman subordinate, including remarks about her sex life with her husband.
“Staff Sgt. Ray made a comment to Ms. D. to the effect that she was a “hottie” when he learned of her age,” the report says.
“On another occasion Staff Sgt. Ray put his arm around Ms. D.’s shoulder and she told him she didn’t like to be touched. Staff Sgt. Ray commented in front of other employees that it must have been hard for Ms. D. and her husband to have children if she does not like to be touched.”
The report notes the statements made to the board by the victims are troubling, revealing wounds that will take time and attention to heal.
It also says Staff Sgt. Ray’s actions have discredited the RCMP and that his actions have set a poor example.
“Our organization relies upon its senior NCOs to set a good example for younger members, and Staff Sergeant Ray’s misconduct has had the opposite effect.”
Chief Superintendent Marlin Degrand, a senior K Division officer, said Staff Sgt. Ray has been transferred to an undisclosed RCMP detachment in British Columbia.
Chief Supt. Degrand said Staff Sgt. Ray’s case was dealt with quickly and fairly under the rules of the RCMP Act as soon as Mountie leaders became aware of the allegations.
He would not comment on whether police considered laying criminal charges in the case.
At a new conference Chief Supt. Degrand appeared to be mortified by this latest smear on the image of Canada’s national police force.
“The RCMP has approximately 30,000 employees – men and women who I am proud to work with every day. The vast majority of those individuals are exceptional people doing an exceptional job in the service of the public,” he said.
“When individuals such as Sgt. Ray make the decisions that they do and perform the activities such as they do, it cannot help but bring discredit to the rest of us, and it hurts us.”
The RCMP has been dogged by allegations from female officers of sexual assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct by male officers, including superiors.
Since last fall at least five lawsuits have been filed by current and former female Mounties against the RCMP.
Mountie leaders have promised to investigate the claims, but also the prevalence of harassment within the force.