Keith Fraser (Vancouver Province) – A B.C. Mountie who is suing the RCMP over a series of alleged sexual assaults at the hands of a male colleague has filed a new lawsuit.
Karen Katz is taking a society that funds legal aid for Mounties to small claims court for failing to help her in her sexual assault lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court.
“Us members that are applying to the fund, we’re being misled,” said Katz on Tuesday. “Here I am the victim of a sexual assault. I’m applying to the fund for help and it’s almost like getting blood out of a stone.”
In the new writ filed in small claims court, Katz, a Mountie since 1988, says that since 1998 she has been a member of the Mounted Police Members Legal Fund, a registered society that boasts nearly 17,000 members.
The stated mandate of the fund as a non-profit corporation is to provide funding to “actions with respect to matters that affect the dignity or welfare of a member or members,” says the suit.
Katz says she consented to have $104 annually deducted from her paycheque to the fund.
In November last year, she applied for funding to help her with the action seeking damages for the alleged sexual assaults.
She says she was told that any financial assistance would be restricted to $3,000 and was refundable and then was denied funding because the sexual assault defendant was also a member of the fund.
When she told the fund that she was also suing the RCMP vicariously and directly, she says the fund demanded access to all her RCMP files, including files that are “protected” or confidential.
She says she responded that she could not answer all the inquiries or give access to the files, since she was suing the RCMP and that senior members of the RCMP who could otherwise not access the information would be sitting on the fund committee deciding her application.
“The claimant further advised that she would not give unfettered access to all her files to unknown members of the RCMP due to previous harassment suffered within the RCMP.”
Upset with the refusal of funds, Katz resigned from the fund and requested reimbursement for the amount she has paid into the fund over the years. She was allowed to leave the fund but was denied reimbursement, she says.
The society is in breach of their contract with her to fairly or reasonably process her application for funding, she claims.
Katz also claims the society misrepresented to her and all members and prospective members that reasonably unlimited financial assistance would be readily available.
The society could not be reached. No response has been filed to the claim. The allegations have not been proven in court.