VANCOUVER – An RCMP officer who has been accused of harassing a fellow Mountie in British Columbia is denying the allegations, arguing the conduct complained of simply didn’t occur.
The civil lawsuit against Corp. Baldev (David) Singh Bamra was filed by Const. Karen Katz in January 2012 and is one of several sexual harassment suits filed by female officers against the RCMP.
Katz’s lawsuit, the first of two she has filed over allegations of on-the-job harassment, claimed Bamra complained about her to other officers, engaged in inappropriate roughhousing and on one occasion, pushed his genitals against her.
“The defendant Bamra denies that he ever harassed, assaulted, sexually assaulted or even battered the plaintiff as alleged or at all,” states Bamra’s statement of defence filed last week.
Bamra also denied he ever acted in a manner inconsistent with his duties, said he didn’t breach codes of conduct, didn’t wilfully engage in misconduct, abuse his authority, or conspire against Katz or act maliciously towards her.
Bamra stated he didn’t initiate a campaign “of consistent complaining” to others about Katz or even work with her very often, and if he did work with the constable, it was an “infrequent occurrence.”
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“The RCMP fully and properly investigated the plaintiff’s complaints after becoming aware of them in 2011,” stated Bamra’s court documents. “The RCMP determined the defendant Bamra did not engage in misconduct in relation to the plaintiff as then alleged or at all.”
Bamra also argued that under the Limitations Act, Katz filed her lawsuit too late and he said her complaints are better addressed through the grievance process.
The federal government, also a defendant in the lawsuit through the Attorney General of Canada, denied the allegations in court documents filed in October.
Katz said in an interview she’s not surprised by the response because it follows a strategy of “deny, deny, deny.”
“When I read the response, it looks like they simply almost copied the Department of Justice’s response, you know, saying I should have put in a grievance,” said Katz.
The RCMP’s own investigation of Bamra was “faulty,” said Katz who noted she has hired an expert to analyze Bamra’s statement to code-of-conduct investigators.
“They’re not taking any responsibility for their actions,” she said, noting the force wants people to go through the “ineffective” grievance or code-of-conduct processes instead of the courts.
In her statement of claim, Katz said she and Bamra worked together in the RCMP’s protective services division in Vancouver, and that’s where she alleges Bamra began a campaign of complaining about her to colleagues.
The behaviours escalated and became physical, and included incidents where he slammed into her chest while wearing his bullet-proof vest and grabbing her in a bear hug, Katz has alleged.
The lawsuit claimed that during an incident in 2007, Bamra pinned Katz on a desk and pushed his genitals against her until she was able to free herself.
On medical leave since 2009, Katz said she is suffering from post-traumatic stress.
A second lawsuit alleging more widespread harassment and abuse was launched by Katz in July, but so far no statement of defence has been filed.