Edmonton police constable headed to trial for alleged sexual assault

St. Albert RCMP charged an Edmonton police constable with sexual assault in March 2023. (Codie McLachlan/CBC - image credit)
St. Albert RCMP charged an Edmonton police constable with sexual assault in March 2023. (Codie McLachlan/CBC - image credit)

An Edmonton police officer accused of sexually assaulting a woman he was in a relationship with will be tried by a jury later this year.

The 36-year-old Edmonton Police Service constable is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in St. Albert on Nov. 18, 2022.

In an interview Wednesday, RCMP Alberta spokesperson Cpl. Troy Savinkoff confirmed the woman was in a domestic relationship with the officer, and said that the alleged sexual assault was reported to RCMP on Feb. 17, 2023.

He said the constable was arrested on March 8, 2023, and was released on bail later that day.

The constable is also charged in a July 15, 2023 incident for allegedly failing to comply with a release order to not contact the woman.

CBC News is not identifying the constable in order to protect the identity of the woman.

When a police officer in Alberta faces criminal charges, police agencies often issue a news release.

However, though nearly a year has passed since police received the initial complaint about this officer, neither RCMP nor EPS have notified the public about the charge in this case.

Savinkoff said RCMP has a process for determining whether or not to notify the public when an officer is arrested and charged.

If the alleged crime is one RCMP would normally issue a news release about, one is sent out, regardless of which police service the officer works for, he said.

If the officer works elsewhere, like for the EPS, and if it's an offence that wouldn't normally trigger a news release, Savinkoff said RCMP will generally leave it up to the officer's own police agency to make a decision about announcing it.

If an RCMP officer is arrested, the default is to issue a news release, Savinkoff said.

He added that there are some limited situations where it wouldn't happen due to victim privacy concerns or circumstances involving a mental health call.

In this case, a domestic sexual assault wouldn't typically trigger a news release, so Savinkoff said RCMP left the decision to EPS.

Responding to questions about why no release was issued by EPS at the time of the officer's arrest, spokesperson Cheryl Voordenhout said EPS doesn't always tell the public when an officer is charged.

"Regarding public release of charges against an EPS officer, the EPS reviews these on a case-by-case basis, as it must abide by applicable privacy laws and balance the need for accountability and transparency with consideration for the health and wellness of all people involved," she said.

The EPS does not track how often it informs the public when officers are charged criminally, Voordenhout said. But rarely would the service not inform the public about such charges.

Voordenhout said the constable was initially placed in a non-operational role, but is now on a leave that is unrelated to discipline.

She said she cannot comment on the case while it's before the courts, but that once the judicial process wraps up, EPS's professional standard branch will launch an investigation.

A four-day jury trial in the case is scheduled for early December in Edmonton's Court of King's Bench.