Suzanne Fournier (Vancouver Province) – Women who proudly donned the red serge suit of the RCMP only to suffer sexual harassment by bosses have been growing in strength and numbers.
RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, who was the calm, professional voice of the Air India and the Missing Women Task Force, said in a recent 115-page statement that she was constantly sexually harassed by RCMP officers.
Galliford, who has been on medical leave, is slated to testify at the Missing Women Inquiry in January but has not filed a civil lawsuit.
Now 44, Galliford said male RCMP and Vancouver police officers told her they “fantasized” about serial killer Robert Pickton escaping from jail to rape and murder her.
She was subjected to constant sexual aggression, innuendo and harassment.
Galliford graduated as a Mountie in 1991, the same year as Krista Carle, who was moved to come forward after Galliford spoke out. Carle, diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after being sexually harassed for 19 years, applied for a medical discharge in 2009 due to stress.
Pornography was placed in Carle’s desk and she endured sexual jokes and inappropriate touching throughout her career.
“There was an internal review and nothing ever came out of it,” said Carle.
Carle and four other officers claimed they were sexually assaulted by a sergeant in the 1990s. They sued the RCMP, and the case was settled out of court.
A recent RCMP tribunal in Vancouver heard disturbing allegations of sexual harassment by Const. Susan Gastaldo, who said she was intimidated and coerced into having sexual relations with a male superior.
Gastaldo has filed a civil lawsuit against the officer and the RCMP and is facing an internal disciplinary hearing for an alleged sex act in a police car.
Next week, a group of former RCMP officers in Ontario is planning to launch a class action lawsuit against the RCMP related to harassment.
That group includes male officers.
The growing revelations about apparently systemic sexual harassment in the RCMP has led to a national hotline, available for current or former female RCMP officers during business hours at 1-855-687-1868.