RCMP deny sex assault lawsuit from officer who was disciplined for allegations

Associated Press

VANCOUVER - The RCMP has filed a defence in a sexual assault lawsuit that was launched by a female officer who was disciplined last year for making the allegations.

Const. Susan Gastaldo filed a lawsuit in August 2011 alleging one of her superiors, Staff Sgt. Travis Pearson, sexually assaulted her and forced her to maintain a sexual relationship for several months.

The case was investigated by the Vancouver police, which concluded the allegations were unfounded, and prompted an RCMP code of conduct review that eventually disciplined both Gastaldo and Pearson for what was characterized as a consensual affair.

The B.C. and federal governments have now filed a statement of defence in Gastaldo's lawsuit, pointing to the police investigation and code-of-conduct review to reject Gastaldo's claims that she was sexually assaulted.

The statement of defence, filed more than a year after Gastaldo launched her suit, insists Gastaldo consented to the affair and says any psychological harm was the result of her failing to seek treatment for a pre-existing anxiety condition.

Gastaldo and Pearson were both disciplined for misconduct for exchanging explicit text messages and having sex in a police vehicle, though Gastaldo was singled out by the review board, which accused her of lying about the sexual assault.

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