RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says “a criminal investigation” is underway into explosive allegations made against some RCMP officers when they worked in Prince George, B.C. from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s.
Lucki, who announced her retirement earlier this week, sent a statement to APTN News Friday.
“The investigation is active and being led by my RCMP colleagues in British Columbia,” she wrote.
“The investigation is adequately resourced and progressing. To protect the integrity of ongoing inquiries, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”
The historical allegations that some Prince George officers sexually abused under-aged Indigenous girls “in the sex trade” were contained in a newly revealed report from the RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC), in response to a 2016 complaint from Garry Kerr.
Kerr was a senior Mountie in Kamloops when in 2011 he relayed information he received from a junior officer to RCMP “E” Division headquarters in B.C., the report said.
The junior officer alleged there was evidence on videotapes she found in the home she used to share with a former Prince George Mountie that incriminated him in the sexual abuse allegations, the report said.
The junior officer said her home was burgled and the tapes were stolen after she confided in a superior officer and, the report said, her suspicions that her former spouse was responsible were not investigated as a crime.
Kerr filed a public complaint with the CRCC after seeing no signs of an investigationwithin the force, the report added.
Lucki said the RCMP does take the allegations of officers exploiting vulnerable girls, which have upset First Nations leaders in B.C., seriously.
Committed to reconciliation
“We are committed to reconciliation and a renewed and enhanced relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership,” she said in her statement. “We are listening and taking positive actions.
“We recognize that the actions necessary for reconciliation are long-term. There is much work to be done and we are committed to transparency in modernizing the RCMP.”
Lucki declined to be interviewed.
The CRCC report was highly critical of the way the allegations were first treated and made a number of pointed recommendations.
Lucki said “the remaining recommendations are well underway and my written apology to the member was completed and sent in November 2021.”
Kerr, who is now retired, confirmed he received a written apology from Lucki for not keeping him informed after she signed off on the report in March 21 – just before he received it. He said he also received a verbal apology from a senior officer and rejected both apologies.
By signing off, he said Lucki agreed to a recommendation to keep him and the junior officer abreast of developments going forward. He said that hasn’t happened.
“I have never got an update from the RCMP,” he said Friday.
That’s why he said he messaged the CRCC after receiving the report and said it sent “a fairly scathing email to Brenda Lucki’s office in November of 2022” telling her to bring him up to date.
“Here I am in February (2023) and I still haven’t heard anything,” he said via phone.
The report, newly made public by the Vancouver Sun, criticized the B.C. RCMP for mishandling the allegations of sexual abuse, a break-in and theft of the videotapes.
APTN has not heard from the public safety minister responsible for the RCMP, after requesting comment from Marco Mendocino last week and sending a follow-up message.
The father of the girls said he was glad to see the allegations back in the spotlight, yet worried about the emotional impact on his family.
“I’m angry – so, so angry,” he said an interview. “This has been a traumatic thing for my girls.”
The father said family break-up and addiction led to his daughter and stepdaughter being in the care of Prince George social workers and foster parents for a time.
That’s when the girls, who were 13 and 14, were on the street exchanging sexual acts for drugs, he said, and accused some officers, a lawyer, and a provincial court judge of sexually abusing them.
The report said RCMP investigated the complaints and found no evidence to substantiate the officers’ or others’ alleged involvement but enough to charge the judge.
“This is unacceptable,” the National Family and Survivors Circle, comprised of family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and victims, said in a statement.
“Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people deserve safety and dignity, especially from those with professional and legal responsibilities for public safety and law enforcement.”