ABOYNE – Details remain scarce, but the SIU has now confirmed it has seven ongoing investigations of alleged sexual assaults involving one Wellington OPP officer.
“All I can say at this stage is that the matter remains an ongoing investigation,” stated Derek Rogers, OPP West Region media relations coordinator, in a Feb. 12 email.
“If the investigation determines charges are warranted, they will be laid and the media/public will be notified.”
Police officials have refused to comment on why the force did not, in this case, adhere to its practice of issuing a press release announcing investigations by the SIU (Special Investigations Unit).
On Feb. 6 the Advertiser discovered one ongoing sexual assault investigation involving the Wellington County OPP listed on the SIU website. Six additional sexual assault cases involving the detachment later appeared on the site.
According to the SIU’s case status page, four of the seven incidents were reported by the OPP on Jan. 24 (including the initial case), two were reported on Jan. 27 and one on Jan. 29.
The six most recently posted investigations are the only ones on the site not listed in chronological order.
“Although the SIU was made aware of several incidents in late January, investigators had to confirm details about the alleged incidents before a case number could be assigned,” SIU communications coordinator Monica Hudon stated in a Feb. 12 email.
“Once we had the information, six additional investigations were launched on [Feb. 7]. That is when the [website] was updated.”
Hudon confirmed “the subject officer in each case is the same,” but she did not provide case details.
Police and SIU officials refuse to confirm the date of the incidents, whether the officer was on duty at the time, the number of alleged victims, and whether the victim(s) is a civilian or fellow officer.
OPP officials have also ignored questions about why the media was not informed of the SIU investigations, and whether or not the OPP has a press notification policy.
Wellington County OPP media officers, who usually announce the launch of SIU investigations within a few days, are directing all inquiries about the alleged sexual assaults to West Region OPP officials.
West Region Sergeant Laura Lee Brown stated in a Feb. 11 email the OPP “is conducting a parallel investigation” of the first sexual assault case.
Hudon explained in a Feb. 7 email the SIU does not release details that could potentially identify victims of sexual assaults, including the time, date and location.
Police forces are mandated by the province to immediately inform the SIU of incidents involving officers where there has been a death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.
However, SIU and OPP officials refuse to disclose date(s), so it’s unclear if Wellington OPP officials met this requirement.