Peel Police Officer Docked Pay for Sexual Harassment Incident in Mississauga
A Peel Regional Police officer was recently docked 20 days pay following a serious sexual harassment incident that occurred at a Mississauga Boston Pizza.
He will not face any criminal charges, even though the nature of the harassment was, it appears, quite serious.
The decision to dock Const. Lyndon Locke's pay came down during a recent Police Services Act disciplinary hearing after the constable pleaded guilty to discreditable conduct.
On Jan. 30, 2015, Const. Locke—who has been with the force since May of 2000—visited the Aimco Blvd. Boston Pizza in Mississauga with co-workers after his shift. Around midnight, more officers arrived for a farewell party for Constable Y (her full name is not available), as she was leaving her platoon as part of a transfer.
According to hearing documents, the group sat at a large table in the bar section of the restaurant and ordered food, beer and alcohol. At 1:00 a.m. on Jan. 31, Const. Locke went to visit the platoon at their table and started a conversation with Const. Y. He compared her to other police women and called her "bangable."
He also said that had she not have been with her husband then, she would be with him.
When Const. Y turned away from Const. Locke, he tugged on her hair and said, "hey, I was talking to you."
Later on, Const. Locke accused Const. Y of attempting to pay the restaurant bill on her phone and joked that he was going to do a Production Order (search warrant) on her device. At this time, Const. Locke pulled a tie from his jacket and told Const. Y that it was a "power tie" (he does not recall making this statement). Later on, Const. Locke pulled Const. Y's right leg towards him by grabbing her inner thigh. When she pushed his hand away, he grabbed her ponytail and wrapped it around his hand before pulling the tie out again and saying, "do you know what I am going to do with this? I am going to wrap this around your neck and fucking strangle you with it."
Const. Locke said he does not remember making this statement.
According to hearing documents, Const. Y was "stunned and shocked" and frightened. She made a formal complaint to her supervisor and an investigation into the incident began.
In a statement in the document made by Peel Supt. Colleen Fawcett, Const. Locke's conduct is described as "serious."
"Constable Locke’s misconduct is serious," she writes. "Constable Locke made a number of sexual and inappropriate comments to Constable Y. Constable Locke also touched Constable Y on the thigh and pulled her hair several times. Constable Locke’s behaviour was highly inappropriate and unwanted. Constable Locke’s behaviour was offensive to Constable Y and caused her extreme distress. While Constable Locke’s behaviour did not occur in the workplace, it occurred at a work event and resulted in an uncomfortable work environment for Constable Y."
"The sexual harassment and behaviour of Constable Locke is serious. It is important that all members of the Service are aware that this type of misconduct will not be tolerated. It is also important to demonstrate to Constable Y that the Service will protect her interests and ensure a proper penalty is imposed for this type of conduct."
While the incident was serious and, it appears, was taken seriously, the penalty does seem slight.
According to hearing documents, Const. Locke's penalty has a lot to do with his relatively uncheckered history with the force.
There was also some precedent in terms of sexual harassment offences that Fawcett referred to when selecting a punishment.
"Constable Locke's acceptance of responsibility by pleading guilty indicates that he appreciates the impact of his actions," writes Supt. Fawcett. "I have reviewed all of the available information and while a Hearing Officer is not bound by joint submissions there is no clear and cogent reason before me to vary from the submission on penalty. In addition to those factors previously considered, this penalty addresses the need for specific and general deterrence. It provides assurance to Constable Y, the public and policing community that the Peel Regional Police are prepared to impose sanctions on officers when their behaviour falls short of the expectations of the Service."
In terms of other cases, the report references a few that were examined during the course of the investigation into Const. Locke's misconduct. In all of the cases mentioned in the report, suspensions and criminal charges were never invoked.
In 2005, a sergeant was charged with discreditable conduct after presenting a female subordinate with personal gifts and repeatedly asking to be invited to her home to cook for her. The sergeant was demoted for four months and enrolled in a supervisor/management training program.
In 2012, a constable pleaded guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct. On the first count, it was alleged that the constable made inappropriate comments towards and touched several civilian female employees under his supervision. He would massage their shoulders, put his arms around them and "make comments and gestures of a sexual nature." On the second count, a female employee observed pictures of naked women on the constable's computer. He was demoted for six months and enrolled in a sexual harassment training program.
In another case in 2015, a constable pleaded guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct after engaging in inappropriate sexual conversations with two separate civilian communicators. While training one person in a car, he asked her if she liked certain sex acts, asked if he could touch her breasts, showed her graphic photos of himself and handed her his service pistol. He made sexual comments towards another woman and also showed her graphic selfies. He was also demoted and enrolled in classes.
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