WARNING: This story contains disturbing details
By Dylan Robertson, CBC News Posted: May 30, 2017 1:07 PM CT
Last Updated: May 31, 2017 10:29 AM CT
Charges against an ex-Mountie accused of sexually assaulting an Inuit girl were withdrawn Tuesday, without explanation from the Crown prosecutor in the case.
LM, who served as an RCMP officer in Cape Dorset, Nunavut 50 years ago, has been cleared of three sex charges. The trial began Monday in a Nunavut Court of Justice trial in Ottawa. The trial was moved to Ottawa due to LM’s health concerns.
He’d been charged two years ago with one charge of sexual assault, and two charges that no longer exist in the Criminal Code: indecent assault against a female and sexual intercourse with a person under 14 years old.
The Crown withdrew all charges Tuesday, meaning LM has been cleared of the allegations and cannot be arrested on them at a later date. In court, the Crown would only say it consulted with the complainant before deciding to withdraw the charges.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not commenting on this case,” Crown prosecutor Raegan Rankin wrote in an email to CBC News, after being asked for clarification on why the charges were withdrawn.
The charges related to alleged sex assaults dating back to 1967, when the complainant was an 11-year-old girl. The woman, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, told the court these occurred until 1969. The charges only involved her.
“We were not used to being around white people, and we were afraid of them,” the complainant told the court Monday through an Inuktitut interpreter. She recounted her family moving from a small outpost to Cape Dorset for school, while maintaining a traditional lifestyle.
She said a uniformed police officer on a snowmobile picked her up as she walked home, drove her to a remote area, demanded she remove her pants and raped her.
She detailed multiple incidents such as forced oral sex occurring through various seasons, until the officer left the community. When asked if she ever told her parents, the woman started loudly wailing, prompting a recess.
“I didn’t tell anyone for a long time,” she later told the court. “As Christians we’ve been told that if we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us.” She attributed her promiscuous teen years and over-protecting mothering to trauma from multiple assaults.
“When I was a teenager, different guys did stuff to me, because of what he did to me.”
In cross-examination, LM’s lawyer Patrick Fagan suggested the woman was instead sexually assaulted by her nephew. The woman dismissed the incident as roughhousing.
Fagan pointed to discrepancies between her four statements to police, twice denying in January 2012 that she’d contacted LM before admitting six months later that she’d phoned him in 2006. She had difficulty remembering the layout of the police detachment, where she claimed multiple assaults occurred.
And when pressed, she admitted to bringing “a multimillion dollar lawsuit” against LM, but said it was because a lawyer told her to. She said witnessing her husband’s 2005 death left her “distraught” and making irrational choices.
As the cross-examination continued past 5 p.m., Fagan presented a May 14, 2006 email the complainant had sent to LM, whom she’d called “babe” and suggested that “you and I have good sex.”
LM responded 12 hours later, in an email that asked her to stop the “harassment,” and chiding her for sending “a pornographic photo”.
The complainant acknowledged having sent and received both emails, and said she’d forgotten about each of them. Though presented to the court, CBC News did not see the photos contained in her email.
Glaring into the witness box, the complainant claimed she sent LM the email, hoping he’d admit to the childhood incidents. “I would not have done this to someone, had he not done this to me,” she said, jabbing her index finger in the air.
In a swift proceeding Tuesday morning, Rankin told Nunavut Justice Earl Johnson she was withdrawing the charges after speaking with the complainant.
Because the Crown withdrew the charges against LM, they cannot be revisited unless through a separate investigation. If the Crown had instead stayed his charges, prosecutors would have had a year to collect more evidence and resume the allegations.
LM, who had not spoken a word in the case, was released.
LM declined to comment to CBC News.
Sean Fagan, Patrick Fagan’s associate, wrote in a statement to CBC News that the case was withdrawn “due to the irreparable damage done to the case” by Monday’s cross-examination.
The case was held by judge alone.
This story has been updated to clarify the nature of the photo sent in an email to LM. (May 31, 2017 10:23 AM CT)
Share this Sean Fagan News