Kelowna RCMP members retaliated against a woman after she complained about an officer’s sexual harassment, alleges a civil lawsuit filed Monday.
It’s the second civil lawsuit to reveal allegations against Brian Mathew Burkett, who was charged in July with several counts of breach of trust for incidents that are alleged to have occurred while he was a Kelowna Mountie in 2015 and 2016. The criminal charges allege Burkett pursued a sexual relationship with seven women in connection to his duties as a police officer.
The new lawsuit alleges Burkett attended the Kelowna home of a woman in May 2016 after she was the victim of a domestic assault. Burkett gathered the woman’s cell and work phone numbers during his investigation.
The claim alleges Burkett sent the woman inappropriate pictures of himself and, in text messages, told her he would be visiting her while on shift and would expect “certain sexual favours."
When the woman did not reply, the lawsuit alleges “Burkett threatened the plaintiff with sexual assault” and made repeated threatening calls to her workplace.
“Burkett continued to harass the plaintiff on Facebook even after the RCMP arrested him for breach of trust,” the claim alleges.
In October 2016 while recovering at home after a surgery, RCMP officers broke down the front door of the woman’s home, pulled her from bed, detained her and drove her to the hospital. The lawsuit said officers told the woman they got an anonymous tip that she was unwell.
The claim states the woman was never admitted to hospital or treated for any medical issues, and that the “arbitrary detention” left her “confused and terrified.” The woman took a taxi home and with the help of friends and family repaired her door. RCMP did not explain the incident any further, the suit says, despite several calls to the detachment.
The lawsuit says the woman left Kelowna shortly afterwards “to avoid further harassment by the RCMP members.”
“The Kelowna RCMP members arbitrarily detained the plaintiff in retaliation for her reporting Burkett’s actions,” the claim continues, adding the incident violated the woman’s Charter rights.
The suit, which also names the B.C. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, seeks a variety of damages. The woman allegedly lost her job due to the stress and anxiety of the incident and now suffers from PTSD and other psychological injuries.
In October, another woman filed a lawsuit naming the same parties, claiming Burkett demanded nude photos from her. While two women have now come forward as plaintiffs, the criminal case against Burkett — which is in its early stages — alleges there are at least five more victims.
Burkett quit the RCMP in August 2017. He and the provincial and federal governments have not yet filed a response to the lawsuit filed in October. None of the above allegations have been proven in court.
It was reported earlier this month that another Kelowna RCMP officer has been suspended after he allegedly sent sexually explicit text messages to a victim in a 2018 case he was involved in. Sexual assault charges against yet another Central Okanagan Mountie, Chad Lincoln Vance, also came to light this month in relation to a 2015 incident.