SIU Concludes Investigation in St. Catharines



    TORONTO, March 15 /CNW/ - James Cornish, the Director of the Special
Investigations Unit (SIU), has determined that there is no reasonable basis to
charge a Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) officer with a criminal
offence. The officer was the subject of an investigation for allegations of
sexual assault against a number of women.
    The investigation began on April 11, 2006, when the SIU was notified that
the NRPS had received a sexual assault complaint against one of their
officers. Six SIU investigators were assigned to examine the allegation.
During the course of the 10-month SIU probe, five additional complainants were
identified and located who alleged they were sexually assaulted by the same
NRPS officer.
    As part of this complex and detailed investigation, SIU investigators
interviewed a total of 39 police and civilian witnesses. The SIU's Affected
Persons Coordinator was also involved, assisting the complainants through the
lengthy investigative process.
    The investigation determined that the alleged incidents involving the six
complainants took place between September of 2001 and December of 2005 in St.
Catharines. They alleged various forms of sexual contact, some apparently
consensual and others not.
    After a thorough review, the Director concluded that the available
evidence fell short of providing a reasonable basis for causing a charge to be
laid against the subject officer in this matter. He said, "I am mindful that
it is very difficult for complainants in sexual assault cases to come forward
to the authorities and speak of these very personal and often embarrassing
incidents. In the end result however, I found that the evidence, in its
totality, provided an insufficient basis for proceeding with criminal
charges."

    The SIU is a civilian government agency that investigates circumstances
involving police and civilians, which have resulted in serious injury or
death. Under Section 113 of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU
has the authority to decide whether or not charges are warranted based on the
findings of an investigation. The Director's decision is reported to the
Attorney General.





For further information:

For further information: Rose Bliss, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342, or/ou
1-800-787-8529

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