Lawsuit alleges ex-cop harassed women before Kelowna transfer

Former cop hit with 3rd suit

A former Kelowna RCMP officer facing charges for allegedly sexually harassing several women has been named in a new civil lawsuit, alleging he harassed a woman on Vancouver Island prior to his transfer to the Okanagan. 

It’s the third lawsuit to make similar allegations against Brian Mathew Burkett, who is charged with seven counts of breach of trust for incidents alleged to have occurred while he was a Kelowna Mountie in 2015 and 2016.

The lawsuit filed Monday pre-dates the criminal allegations and two previous civil cases, claiming he sexually harassed a woman while he was an RCMP officer in Duncan in 2012.

The civil claim states the woman called 911 to report a dangerous and aggressive driver on Oct. 17, 2012. After providing her contact info to the dispatcher, she received a text from an RCMP member asking her to provide a statement at the Duncan RCMP detachment. 

After she gave her recorded statement, the lawsuit claims “Burkett began to comment inappropriately and suggestively about the plaintiff’s appearance and body piercings.”

“Within minutes of the plaintiff leaving the Duncan RCMP detachment, Burkett sent the plaintiff more than 15 inappropriate, suggestive sexual messages,” the lawsuit says, adding he acted “obsessively and aggressively via text” in his pursuit of the woman. 

The civil suit says the alleged victim suffered anxiety and continues to experience mistrust in the RCMP.

“The actions of Burkett and the RCMP were reckless, arrogant, high-handed, abusive and showed a callous disregard for the plaintiff’s rights,” the lawsuit continues. 

The suit also names the provincial and federal governments and seeks a variety of damages. The alleged victim is being represented by Penticton-based lawyer Michael Patterson, who is also representing two other Kelowna women who have filed similar lawsuits. None of the allegations has been proven in court.

Castanet News is not naming the lawsuit's plaintiff, as there is a publication ban on the names of the women involved in the criminal case against Burkett.

Burkett quit the RCMP in August 2017. He appeared in Kelowna court Monday on a procedural matter related to the seven criminal counts of breach of trust. 

Last month, a Kelowna woman alleged local RCMP officers retaliated against her once she complained about Burkett’s advances. In October, another woman filed a lawsuit naming the same parties, claiming Burkett demanded nude photos from her.

It was reported in December 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.

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