WARNING: This article contains abuse details.
An Ottawa police officer in the midst of a disciplinary hearing for allegedly sexually assaulting a rookie officer in 2011 has been criminally charged with sexually assaulting another woman, CBC News has learned.
The new criminal charges come as Ottawa Police misconduct detectives are also investigating alleged online harassment of witnesses and alleged use of an anonymous Twitter account to derail Const. Kevin Benloss disciplinary hearing – allegations that police believe Benloss himself is a part of.
The force announced the criminal charges against Benloss on Friday — sexual assault, assault, voyeurism and stalking — but chose not to name the accused officer “in order to protect the victim’s privacy,” police said. . The complainant is a former girlfriend who reported the allegations to police earlier this year.
Police allege Benloss sexually assaulted the former girlfriend in 2014, assaulted her in February of this year, filmed her without her consent and criminally harassed her for about eight years.
CBC News has also learned that Ottawa police executed several search warrants last week alleging they expected to find evidence of other criminal offences.
All of these allegations are, sources say, related to the operation of an anonymous Twitter account now deleted during Benloss’ disciplinary hearing. The account itself was created in February 2021, but tweeted in favor of Benloss during his disciplinary hearing.
Search warrants for their electronic devices were executed against Benloss and two former Ottawa police officers last week, according to sources familiar with the investigation. CBC News is not naming the other former police officers because they have not been charged with any related offences.
Disciplinary hearing underway for alleged sexual assault of a police officer
Benloss began a virtual disciplinary hearing earlier this year for misconduct charges that were brought after the first allegation of sexual assault against him. These charges were filed in November 2020. The force is asking for his dismissal.
The service alleged that Benloss acted in a manner likely to discredit or damage the service’s reputation when, on March 13, 2011, he “engaged in physical and/or sexual communications and/or contact with a sworn member …that you should have known was unwelcome, unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate.”
He was also charged with one count of insubordination for allegedly violating the force’s Respectful Workplace Policy, which governs how employees are to treat each other.
The Disciplinary Tribunal heard from police and civilian witnesses in the misconduct case, including the complainant. The hearing was marked by tense exchanges between police prosecutors and Benloss’ defense attorney in the case, outbursts from the plaintiff, and distractions introduced by courtroom observers supporting Benloss or the plaintiff.
In a human rights complaint she originally filed against the entire police department and in her testimony, the woman alleged that Benloss sexually assaulted her at his home as a rookie after a night out. drinking with other police officers.
Benloss’s defense attorney, Peter Thorning, argued instead that the sexual encounter was consensual and that the complainant created an after-the-fact account of sexual assault.
“I have to take a break because now I’m going to kill this fucking guy,” she shouted minutes into her cross-examination, before storming out of the room in which she was being questioned about her work history.
The woman, who has been diagnosed with PTSD and is still not at work, told the hearing on her return: “I don’t have as much experience as a police officer as you might think. I get angry when I talk about my career.”
Benloss has been suspended with pay since September 2020. He was released on a promise to appear in criminal court on the new charges against him.
His police disciplinary hearing is due to resume on Friday.
Support is available for anyone who has experienced sexual assault. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Canadian Association for the Elimination of Violence Database. If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or the safety of those around you, please call 911.