Updated: Tue, 17 Jul 2012 17:52:50 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Mounties issue sweeping denial in B.C. harassment lawsuit



Mounties issue sweeping denial in B.C. harassment lawsuit

The RCMP is denying allegations contained in a high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit against the force that prompted several other female Mounties to come forward with claims of abuse.

Cpl. Catherine Galliford, who was a police spokeswoman on the Air India and Robert Pickton cases, first outlined her allegations in an interview with CBC News last fall and filed her lawsuit in May

The provincial government and Ottawa, which acts on behalf of the RCMP, filed a response to civil claim on Monday.

The response denies all of Galliford's allegations and instead paints her as an alcoholic who refused treatment and rejected the RCMP's efforts to keep her away from one of the men she alleged harassed her.

The response to civil claim says Galliford never alerted the force to her allegations before 2011, when she filed a formal complaint that was investigated immediately.

The governments also dispute Galliford's claim that a medical report provided to an RCMP doctor diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress.

'Paying lip service'

In an interview with CBC News on Tuesday, Galliford acknowledged she did not alert the force to the harassment.

"I didn’t complain. They’re right when they say that. I did not complain because when you go to someone to complain about harassment and abuse in the workplace, it’s almost as if they’re paying lip service," she said.

"There really isn’t an investigation and so I really didn’t think there was any point because I knew that if I complained about what was happening to me, I would become a target and my career would be over."

The response to civil claim goes on to say that even if the allegations are true, the acts were consensual — a statement Galliford denies.

"It was never consensual because it was always a person in a position of authority above me," she said.

"What I noticed over time is that these people who were my supervisors would try to get me in a place where they could do or say what they wanted and I was alone with them and they made sure that there were no other witnesses."

Galliford is seeking unspecified damages for loss of past and future income in addition to punitive and aggravated damages.

Her high-profile case is the latest in a growing list of legal actions against the Mounties alleging a culture of harassment inside the force.

With files from The Canadian Press

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