A B.C. RCMP officer has been fired after using police file information to contact a 17-year-old sexual assault victim and sending her sexually inappropriate photos.
Following a conduct board review hearing last fall, Const. Brian Eden was found to have committed misconduct and misused police property, according to official documents obtained from the RCMP.
During the hearing in Richmond, evidence was reviewed pertaining to two incidents that occurred with two separate women in early 2015. Meanwhile, Eden had been placed on suspension with pay.
The first incident involved a 17-year-old girl, who was a claimant in a sexual assault investigation in January that year.
On Jan. 8, while on shift at the Richmond RCMP detachment, Eden contacted the girl as part of an official task he was assigned, documents show.
However, after speaking to the victim officially, Eden used his personal cellphone to text her advising her “to stay safe and be careful.”
This began a series of more than 300 text messages between the two of them from Feb. 1 to 9.
Eden would request photos from her, and she would send back a smiling selfie. But he also sent her a “generic photo” of a male lying in bed with a blanket covering his erection, the documents said, as well as two photos of himself without a shirt on.
Eden also asked her to send photos of her in yoga pants, as well as in a bathing suit. She told her brother about the texts, calling them “weird.”
The exchange ended when the teen’s messages indicated suicidal thoughts, the documents say, and Eden called for assistance to respond to her location.
Eden admitted to these allegations during the hearing.
In the report, the conduct board called the exchange “so fundamentally at odds with the duties he clearly knew he owed a 17-year-old sexual assault complainant.”
Mountie asks woman to go for coffee
The second incident occurred in the early morning of Feb. 3, 2015, when Eden and another officer pulled a woman over speeding.
While Eden was issuing the ticket, the woman asked him and his colleague to go for coffee, which he refused. The two talked about her husband’s job as an acupuncturist.
Back at the detachment, the documents say Eden accessed files on the woman, from 2012 and 2009, that were unrelated to the traffic ticket. The files included telephone numbers, including her husband’s work number.
Later that day, Eden called the woman’s business, identified himself as being from the RCMP and asked the employee who answered the phone for the woman’s cellphone number.
Upon texting the woman, Eden and she had a short exchange of texts, where he mentioned the coffee.
Eden argued he had contacted the woman because of a shoulder injury and her husband potentially treating him, but the board questioned that reasoning.
“Plainly, located in Richmond, British Columbia, [Eden] could have located a suitable acupuncturist by searching the web or opening the Yellow Pages,” the board said.
The board also heard testimony from Eden’s therapist, who said the Mountie had been diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder.
He also said he’d been experiencing some financial strain following the breakdown of a previous relationship, as well as physical discomfort related to the shoulder injury.
The board determined those factors were not significant enough to cause mental impairment and compromise moral judgment.
Eden admitted to accessing personal information, but denied that he’d engaged in “discreditable conduct.”
The board gave him 14 days to resign or else he would be dismissed.
“The powers granted a police officer are considerable; the public justifiably expects members of the RCMP to observe the highest ethical and professional standards,” the board wrote in the documents.
“This necessarily includes the bedrock expectation that members shall only act to protect the health and safety of Canada’s youth, and shall never deliberately and repeatedly exploit any vulnerable young person.”
A B.C. RCMP spokesperson has since confirmed to Black Press that Eden was dismissed.