Jane Seyd (North Shore News) – A high-profile police officer who is suing the RCMP has alleged superiors and fellow officers subjected her to demeaning treatment when she worked at the North Vancouver RCMP detachment.
Former police spokeswoman Cpl. Catherine Galliford said in a statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court that she was subjected to “persistent and ongoing sexual harassment” throughout her RCMP career.
The culture of harassment humiliated women in general and minimized female RCMP officers, but was so entrenched, Galliford felt she had no choice but to tolerate it, she wrote in her statement of claim. Galliford alleged that while she was posted to the North Vancouver RCMP detachment, a photo spread referred to as a “Beaver Gallery” that included centerfolds from Penthouse and Hustler magazines was posted in a cell guard’s office.
When she was first posted to the detachment, Galliford alleged she was assigned a partner who yelled at her that she was “stupid or retarded” while both officers were in an RCMP cruiser with civilians in the back.
Galliford claimed that her permission to travel to Hong Kong with an RCMP troop and to attend a course in Ottawa was abruptly revoked by a senior officer at the detachment – referred to in court documents as “Inspector G.” That officer told her he was removing her from her position in media relations and sending her back to regular watch duty. He refused to tell her which watch she would be on, Galliford claimed, even though she needed to know in order to find childcare, telling her “your childcare concerns aren’t my problem.”
Following that incident, Galliford alleged another officer in the detachment told her “Inspector G” had confided that Galliford would “never get anywhere in North Vancouver as long as he was there.”
She then asked to be transferred to another detachment.
In the lawsuit, Galliford outlined much more serious allegations of harassment at other points in her career, including being stalked, harassed and subjected to graphic sexual comments by male officers.
Galliford alleged she began to have panic attacks and her health deteriorated starting in 2005. She left active duty in 2007 and was diagnosed with a severe form of post-traumatic stress disorder in 2009, according to the lawsuit.
None of Galliford’s allegations have been proven in court.
Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, commanding officer of the B.C. RCMP, issued a statement describing Galliford’s claims as “very serious” and adding the RCMP will respond in a statement of defence.
Callens said senior investigators asked to look into Galliford’s allegations of sexual harassment have not been able to substantiate any of her claims. Callens said he has also asked the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to review that investigation.
The North Vancouver RCMP had no comment on the case.
Galliford’s allegations come three months after a former North Vancouver RCMP officer – who used to oversee professional standards at the detachment – was docked 10 days’ pay after admitting to being guilty of disgraceful conduct for on-the-job sex with another officer while he worked in the RCMP’s special operations unit. During that disciplinary hearing, a civilian RCMP employee told a tribunal Staff Sgt. Travis Pearson stalked her and forced her into a sexual relationship. Pearson denied those allegations, which were not considered by the tribunal.