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Kelowna  

Fourth woman files suit against Former Kelowna RCMP officer

Fourth woman sues cop

A fourth woman has filed a civil lawsuit against a former Kelowna RCMP officer, accusing him of sexual harassment and sexual assault while he was on duty.

Brian Burkett was criminally charged with seven counts of breach of trust in July 2019 for “pursuing a sexual relationship” with women in connection with his duties. Since then four women have filed civil lawsuits against Burkett, who resigned from the RCMP in August 2017.

The most recent suit was filed Friday, alleging Burkett maliciously and repeatedly sexually harassed a Kelowna woman, beginning in February 2016, which led to him allegedly sexually assaulting the woman.

Castanet is not naming the plaintiff, as a publication ban is in place on his criminal matter, protecting the identities of Burkett's alleged victims.

Burkett first met the plaintiff in February 2016, when she was caught driving while prohibited and her car was impounded. After taking her personal information, the suit claims Burkett began to sexually harass her, sending her “inappropriate pictures of himself,” telling her he “expects certain sexual favours” from the plaintiff, and making repeated phone calls to her, threatening her with sexual assault. Burkett allegedly told her she would be put in jail for her prohibited driving offence if she didn't have sex with him.

“Burkett manipulated, stalked and harassed the plaintiff repeatedly, with threats of arrest,” the suit states.

The suit claims the harassment continued even after Burkett was arrested for breach of trust, but it's unclear when that arrest occurred.

“The persistent sexual harassment caused the plaintiff to suffer psychological harm,” the suit states, resulting in her losing her job.

The suit claims that after “approximately four days of constant harassment and threats by Burkett,” the woman had developed “severe depression,” and she feared for her life.

“Burkett met with the plaintiff while on duty and manipulated and threatened the plaintiff again with prison as part of his scheme to force the plaintiff to have sex with him in his car,” the suit states. “The threats, blackmail and intimidation left the plaintiff feeling powerless. Burkett sexually assaulted the plaintiff in his vehicle and left the plaintiff on the side of the road.”

The woman has since left Kelowna “to avoid further harassment by Burkett."

The suit also claims the woman attempted to make a formal complaint to Burkett's direct supervisor at the RCMP, but the supervisor refused to accept the complaint.

“The actions of Burkett and the RCMP were reckless arrogant, high-handed, abusive and showed a callous disregard for the plaintiff's rights,” the suit states. “Burkett and the RCMP have engaged in conduct that is reprehensible and deserves punishment.”

Neither Burkett nor the RCMP have filed any response to the recent lawsuit and none of the allegations has been tested in court.

The three previously filed lawsuits against Burkett have also alleged similar sexual harassing from Burkett. He has not filed any responses to these suits either.

His criminal charges are still before the courts, and he's scheduled to next appear in Kelowna court in November for a pre-trial conference.



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