Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former RCMP Musical Ride Member Sues, Says Colleagues Dragged Her through Feces

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former RCMP Musical Ride Member Sues, Says Colleagues Dragged Her through Feces

Article excerpt

Mountie sues force over alleged assaults

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OTTAWA - A Mountie who was once part of the famed Musical Ride is suing the national police force, alleging she was sexually assaulted, harassed, repeatedly doused in cold water and dragged through horse feces by colleagues.

In a statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court, Staff Sgt. Caroline O'Farrell and her lawyers say the cruel behaviour she suffered in the 1980s left her with post-traumatic stress, led to a marriage breakdown and stunted her prospects with the force.

"The events on the Musical Ride are responsible for stalling Caroline's career at the RCMP," says the claim.

O'Farrell, 52, argues an internal investigation at the time substantiated more than 100 instances of harassment but no real action was taken by her supervisors.

"Some of the harassers received informal discipline (counselling and warnings); others received no form of censure at all," says the statement.

The lawsuit, which names the force and several current and former Mounties, says many of O'Farrell's tormentors continue to work in the RCMP today, some in senior positions.

O'Farrell, who still serves with the RCMP, is seeking millions of dollars in damages for assault, sexual assault, infliction of mental suffering, loss of income and pension entitlement, and breach of contract.

The allegations have not been proven in court and the RCMP has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

O'Farrell dreamed of joining the Mounties from a young age and hoped to be part of the Musical Ride -- the team of accomplished equestrians who perform across the country and serve as a positive symbol of the force.

The statement says O'Farrell was repeatedly subjected to a ritual known as horse-troughing -- grabbed by the arms and legs, sprayed with cold water, then dragged face-down through riding school shavings mixed with manure and urine. …

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