By Natalie Clancy, Manjula Dufresne, CBC News Posted: Jun 17, 2016 2:00 AM PT Last Updated: Jun 17, 2016 7:37 AM PT
An RCMP inspector is being accused of continuing harassment of former corporal Catherine Galliford, even after the force settled her sexual harassment lawsuit, according to two complaints that have been filed about the inspector’s social media posts.
Insp. Janis Gray made the comments about Galliford regarding a blog written by former police officer and security expert Leo Knight.
“It appeared to be nothing more than an attempt to besmirch Cate Galliford’s reputation,” said Chilliwack Sgt. Bruce Pitt-Payne, who came to Galliford’s defence. He says he was shocked to see a senior manager “post pejorative comments about her knowledge of Cate” on LinkedIn.
Gray appears to have been reacting to a comment that called Galliford a “hero” for standing up to the force as the first woman to go public with allegations of sexual harassment, prompting hundreds more to come forward.
“I too know Catherine and this entire situation very well. It’s unfortunate that some choose to write articles based on rumour and one side only” wrote Gray from her LinkedIn account on May 13, 2016.
The comments were posted under a blog Pitt-Payne shared, called “When will RCMP brass ever learn?” written by Knight.
‘Continued harassment’ alleged
Gray’s posts have prompted two separate complaints to the RCMP and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, alleging the posts amount to “continued harassment” of Galliford and a breach of her privacy.
he blog criticized the force for taking so long to settle the harassment suit.
“You are missing a very large portion of what actually occurred,” posted Gray, 10 days after the RCMP said the force would not comment publicly on Galliford’s legal settlement.
‘Shame on you’ writes blog author
Knight responded immediately to Gray’s posts.
“Janis Gray, Cate went to you and you dismissed her. Shame on you,” posted Knight.
Gray was Galliford’s last immediate supervisor before the then spokeswoman went on sick leave, diagnosed with post- traumatic stress disorder in 2006.
“Why did the RCMP settle if what I said was rumour?” asked Knight.
His blog repeated allegations from Galliford’s notice of civil claim and her internal sexual harassment complaint, which was first reported by CBC News in 2011.
Gray did not respond to Knight’s question, and her LinkedIn account has since been removed. She did not respond to CBC News’s request for an interview.
‘Slap in the face to all of us’
“If this is let go … it’s a slap in the face to all of us” said Const. Alice Fox, who says dozens of Mounties were upset by Gray’s comments.
On their behalf, she says, she filed a written complaint to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, asking that Gray’s conduct be investigated for “abuse of authority.”
Fox has also filed a harassment suit with the force and has appeared in an anti-bullying video for the RCMP.
In her complaint, she wrote that Gray’s conduct amounts to “continuous harassment of this officer” and asks “is it senior management’s position that they will attempt to publicly discredit members, even if they have their lawsuits settled?”
“This behaviour must be stopped. The only way to stop it is to acknowledge it, and have consequence,” she said.
RCMP officers can be disciplined for what they post on social media, or for speaking publicly without authorization.
But a spokesperson for the force says they cannot say whether Gray is being investigated, citing the Privacy Act.
“A member must consider whether social media posts will compromise their integrity and credibility, that of their colleagues or of the RCMP” said Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer in a statement to CBC News.
Privacy breach alleged
A former civilian RCMP employee who was also offended by Gray’s comments complained to Canada’s privacy commissioner, alleging Gray’s comments were unprofessional and breached the confidentiality of Galliford’s internal harassment complaint and her legal settlement.
Caron no longer works for the force after filing two harassment complaints.
Galliford’s lawyer Barry Carter would not comment on whether Gray’s posts breached the settlement, citing a confidentiality agreement with the RCMP.
Galliford said she worries about the message they are sending.