Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mountie Who Had Police-Car Sex with Her Superior Shouldn't Lose Her Job; Lawyer: Mountie Shouldn't Lose Job over Sex with Boss

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mountie Who Had Police-Car Sex with Her Superior Shouldn't Lose Her Job; Lawyer: Mountie Shouldn't Lose Job over Sex with Boss

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER - An RCMP officer who had an on-going affair with her boss -- including having sex in a police car --shouldn't lose her job while her superior simply loses 10 days pay, her lawyer told an RCMP panel.

Larry McGonigal told the panel Wednesday it would be inappropriate and disconcerting for Const. Susan Gastaldo to be fired after the panel found her guilty of disgraceful conduct.

Her superior officer, Staff Sgt. Travis Pearson, has already been reprimanded and docked 10 days pay by the same panel after admitting to the affair and using a Blackberry to exchange suggestive emails.

But Gastaldo fought against the accusation and claimed she was coerced and sexually assaulted on more than one occasion.

The panel didn't believe her and suggested her punishment should be harsher than Pearson's because she denied the claim.

McGonigal said the disparity in penalties is too harsh.

"He is the supervisor, she is the subordinate. He gets a $4,000 fine. Are we really going to impose upon her loss of job, loss of income, pension, promotional opportunities, benefits in the range of $4 million?" he said. "That would be very disconcerting."

The panel will hand down its decision Thursday.

The board already ruled last December that Gastaldo, who has an anxiety disorder, wasn't truthful, her claim wasn't plausible, and she was only making the accusation because her husband found a Blackberry with email messages between her and Pearson.

"The board isn't convinced that a person who has been sexually assaulted would readily communicate with their assailant," board chairman John Reid said in his ruling.

Records show the pair spoke for a total of 48 hours over a three month period and exchanged 160 email messages, many of them romantic or sexual in nature.

Gastaldo, who attended Wednesday's hearing, sat quietly beside her lawyer as he argued against her being fired.

McGonigal said if Gastaldo does lose her job, it would have a chilling effect for others who may want to come forward and could undermine public confidence in the justice system. …

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