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Three Mounties and jail guard charged over cell-block sex case

Three members of the Kamloops RCMP, including a supervisor with 20 years' experience, and a jail guard have been charged over a cell block incident, during which they allegedly watched two female prisoners having sex.

Charges of breach of trust by a public official were laid Friday against Corporal Rick Brown, Constable Stephen Zaharia, Constable Evan Elgee and city-employed jail guard David Tomkins.

They are scheduled to make their first court appearances July 18. Conviction carries a maximum sentence of five years.

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One night last August, the four men were among a group of seven people who allegedly observed the two women on closed-circuit video monitors of their double-bunked, drunk-tank cell in the local police lockup.

Three members of the group - a police officer and two jail staff - were not charged.

The female inmates had been arrested, separately, for public intoxication and causing a disturbance.

An RCMP statement at the time said that the women "began to engage in what appeared to be consensual sexual contact, and it is alleged that [those present]observed this activity on the video monitor for approximately seven minutes without intervening."

The statement said that the cell block's surveillance cameras also captured the comings and goings of those allegedly watching the sex taking place: "The video evidence is clear."

RCMP spokesman Sergeant Rob Vermeulen said Friday that Corp. Brown, supervisor of the other officers, remains suspended with pay, while Constables Zaharia and Elgee are working, but assigned to administrative duties.

The fourth officer involved, who escaped charges, returned to normal duty last month, Sgt. Vermeulen said. He added that an internal RCMP investigation continues on possible code-of-conduct violations by the officers.

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Mr. Tomkins, the charged guard, was suspended for four weeks without pay by the city, lost his job at the jail, and is now working elsewhere for the city.

"We are not happy over what happened," said Kamloops chief administrative officer, Randy Diehl. "We are glad that it's finally concluded with the laying of charges."

One of the women involved in the incident claimed she was sexually assaulted by the other woman. She said she is suing the federal and provincial governments, the city of Kamloops and the RCMP over what happened.

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