An Ontario Provincial Police officer has been charged with obtaining sexual services for consideration and breach of trust.
James John Clark, 50, was arrested Tuesday by the OPP and released on a promise to appear in court at a later date in Kenora.
His release conditions require him to stay away from his alleged victim Ruth Machimity, who was at the centre of an APTN investigation in November of last year.
Machimity identified Clark as an officer who paid her for sexual services while she was in the wide swath of drug addiction on the streets of Kenora, the traditional territory of the Metis and Anishinaabe of Treaty 3.
It’s a scenic town bustling with vacationers and cottagers in the summer months on the Lake of the Woods, about 210 kilometres east of Winnipeg, Man.
There are no escorts, no websites, unlike other, larger cities.
In Kenora, the sex trade plays out in plain sight on the street.
Often it’s as simple as word of mouth and who you know.
A quick look as a car goes by.
At least, that’s how Machimity explained surviving the streets.
“From there, I did meet a lot of individuals who were willing to give me the money I need for the acts they wanted. And just from throughout the years, meeting different people and just having that disgusting, dirty feeling of having to perform sexual acts with people for money,” Machimity previously told APTN Investigates.
“There are people in this town who want to be able to make that phone call, or to meet up down the road, and pick them up here and there and everywhere.”
Yvonne Bearbull runs a local drop-in centre and has heard stories from vulnerable Indigenous women.
Stories about police officers targeting the women.
“Sometimes I’ve sat and listened, and really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It’s not my place to say whether they were right or wrong, but I’ve heard them and I did my best to let them know that I believe them. And it was always their choice if they ever wanted to do anything about it, right?” she said.
But no victim ever came forward, according to Bearbull.
That is until Machimity.
APTN’s investigation included taking Machimity’s allegations to the OPP, which sparked a police investigation by the professional standards unit.
Machimity then gave an official statement to the OPP in October, 2021.
Clark hasn’t been on active duty since at least the allegations first came to light.
He’s been an officer with the OPP for 20 years and spent the last five in Kenora assigned to court services.
Clark was previously stationed in Atikokan and Sioux Lookout.
APTN’s investigation continues. If anyone has information they can call or text reporter Kenneth Jackson at 613-325-6073. Please leave a detailed message.