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A Mountie who was fired after showing a revealing photo of himself to an assault victim and exchanging sexual texts with her during an investigation, arguing that he was denied a fair trial had successfully fought to get his job.
An adjudicator pointed to flaws in the case against Const. Andrew Scott Hederson played, reinstated and awarded him back pay, according to a decision recently made public and posted on the RCMP’s website.
The adjudicator also ordered a second hearing but Henderson had since resigned from the force.
The case dates back to March 2017 when police were called to a parking lot in Surrey, BC, where a man assaulted his girlfriend – called ‘Ms.’. W’ in RCMP documents.
The identity of the person ‘Mr. In those documents P’ was released on bail on the condition that he does not contact Ms. W. He violated that order almost immediately after his release.
Ms. W. and Hederson both made statements as part of the RCMP Conduct Board’s investigation into what happened next.
The RCMP Conduct Board looks into the most serious cases of police misconduct – where dismissal is on the table. They are formal, court-like procedures and adjudicators have the legal authority to order disciplinary measures such as loss of pay or dismissal.
In accordance with the original Conduct Board’s decision, Hederson — who, in his statement to the Conduct Board, referred to himself as a “quite an attractive dude” — became the principal investigator on the violations file. The decision said Henderson went to visit Ms W at home and the RCMP official claimed he tried to build a relationship with her to obtain a statement accusing Mr P of breaching his terms.
Henderson told the Board of Conduct that he felt she was “kind of flirting” with him and tried to use it to make her comfortable enough to make a statement.
Hederson, who had recently been single at the time of the incident, told the board that he didn’t mind the flirting as he was “moving home to an empty apartment” but later that day was “completely pear-shaped.” Went in,” says the Ethics Board’s decision.
In accordance with that decision, Henderson said he asked Ms W if she had any pictures of her injuries and that she showed him nude photos of her in response.
Ms W told the Board of Conduct that she showed Henderson a photo taken before the shower, but did not know it showed her breasts.
In her statement to the board, Ms W said she was embarrassed and while Henderson told her not to worry, she said she now felt she had something to show in return. Henderson told the board that Ms W was pushing for a photo.
Showing the picture ‘was my big mistake,’ says Mountie
Henderson told the board that after receiving a statement from Ms. W, they came up with a plan to deal with any attempts by Mr. P to contact her. He said he was trying to leave Ms. W’s house when she made another comment about seeing a photo, and then she showed him a picture of herself wearing a “very, very tight boxer”.
“It’s essentially a dick pic. You can see a lot,” he told code of conduct investigators.
“That was my big mistake.”
Meanwhile, Ms. W told the board that Henderson had pressured her to see a picture of herself.
Hederson told investigators that he was “quite certain” that Ms W.
It was “definitely sexual in nature,” he said.
Ms W told the board that Henderson’s messages were about her “difficult” and the size of her “package” and added that she wanted to investigate them thoroughly or do “an in-depth investigation”.
During the Board of Conduct process, Henderson called the relationship consensual, despite being “extremely unfair and unprofessional”.
The RCMP investigation found 323 text message exchanges between the two over a period of 11 days over Ms. W’s phone.
Hederson told the board that, days after exchanging his messages with Ms. W., he began to panic and tried to close the breach file to avoid compromising it. “In retrospect I already … screwed it up,” he said.
Hederson told the board that she was “incredibly upset” when she told Ms. W. they had a date and sent text messages saying she didn’t trust the police, which would end her career. Threatened to do so.
Ms W confirmed those exchanges, telling the board that she was “rude and calling him a pig and saying he was disgusting and unprofessional.” She said he accused her of using her when she was “weak” and mentioned the fact that he could lose his job.
Henderson told the Board of Conduct that he eventually blocked her number but did not tell her.
The allegation against the removal of Mr. P due to the situation
Ms W told the board she continued to reach out to Henderson about Mr P’s breaking of terms.
Meanwhile, Henderson told the board that he was concerned for Ms. W.’s safety. He told investigators that, in retrospect, he should have called 911 or the non-emergency line.
He later told investigators, “I think any of them should have openly called me…
In May 2017, Mr. P was arrested on warrant. Domestic Violence at the Surrey Crown Council Office Crown Counsel spoke to Ms W, who called for the charges against Mr P to be dropped because she was four months pregnant and wanted him in the life of the child.
When Ms W attended her ex-boyfriend’s court hearing, she told Crown counsel that Henderson had shown her sexually explicit photos of her and sent sexual messages. Domestic Violence Crown Counsel said Ms W also expressed her fear of Henderson and the police.
Because Henderson never declared misconduct, the Crown asked Mr.
Thereafter a Conduct Board of Inquiry was launched.
“The fact that the Crown Counsel was compelled to hold on to the allegation of breach of the no-contact condition [Hedderson] The conflict of interest created by him is an example of a consequence, not to mention an impact on the public interest, as he completely destroyed his credibility and impartiality as an investigator,” the Board of Conduct stated in its original written in the judgment.
The Board of Conduct issued a decision on the merits of the allegations in April of 2018.
It came as a surprise to other parties to the case, who were hoping for a chance to argue that Ms W should testify on the charges and make extensive presentations.
The Board of Conduct issued its final decision recommending that Hederson be dismissed from the force in December of 2018.
“Given the completely unacceptable form and nature of sexual misconduct,” the board wrote, putting Henderson in force “would jeopardize the public’s trust and confidence.”
Henderson awarded retrospective pay
Henderson appealed, the board argued, denying him the right to procedural fairness by not hearing him personally and deciding on merit prematurely.
In a decision issued late last year and recently made public, adjudicator Steven Dunn, along with Hederson, “directly attacks the decision” of the Board of Conduct. [Hedderson’s] Right to be heard.”
“I believe the Board has violated the principles of procedural fairness: by not notifying the parties that it intends to make a decision on merit without an oral hearing or further written submission, the parties directly testing the credibility of Ms. W. Testimony and cross-examination and, not providing the appellant an opportunity to make comprehensive presentations on the allegations and evidence,” Dunn wrote.
The original decision was overturned and Dunn ordered a new hearing before a separate conduct board.
Dunn also ruled that Henderson should receive pay and allowances retrospectively from December 2018.
Attempts to reach Hederson were unsuccessful. His representative did not respond to CBC’s request for comment during the Board of Conduct hearing.
Corp Alex Berube, a spokesman for the BC RCMP, said Henderson resigned from the force this month, meaning there would be no second hearings.
A spokesperson for the RCMP union declined to comment on the matter, citing confidentiality reasons.
Berube said all conduct appeals are reviewed “with the goal of ensuring that our processes are effective and consistent.”
The case is the latest to point out issues with the conduct process of the RCMP. The National Police has for years been accused of imposing inadequate sanctions on the mountains in cases of harassment and sexual assault.
The federal government has promised to review how the RCMP disciplines its members.
The post-election mandate letter of Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino tasked him with “initiating an external review of the RCMP’s sanctions and disciplinary regime to determine the adequacy of existing sanctions and whether they are properly and consistently implemented.” “