Estate of former RCMP officer says it 'has no knowledge' of alleged sex assault

The estate of a former New Brunswick RCMP officer says it "has no knowledge of the facts" alleged by a woman who says the officer sexually assaulted her at her workplace.

Nicole Gallant was working as an administrative assistant at the Richibucto RCMP detachment on the afternoon of Oct. 26, 2010, when Allan Larin, a retired RCMP officer who was working as a temporary civilian employee at the time, allegedly sexually assaulted Gallant in a file room.

Larin died from cancer in April, according to his obituary.

Gallant is suing Larin's estate as well as the RCMP, which she said discouraged her from pursuing criminal charges against Larin.

In its statement of defence, filed in November, Larin's estate says Gallant "suffered no injuries as a result of the deceased's actions, which are not admitted but strictly denied."

"In the alternative, the defendant estate states that if the plaintiff suffered injuries, these injuries relate to completely unrelated prior or subsequent events that are too far removed from the alleged incidents of this action."

The estate is seeking dismissal of Gallant's claim, "costs on a solicitor-client basis" and any other relief the court "deems just."

'I told him to stop'

Gallant's lawyer, Brian Murphy, said the statement of defence is part of the pleading process, "but we're not off to a good start."

"The basis of both defence arguments, as far as I can see, are things like we did our best to resolve the issues and it's common fact that the process involved, putting Mr. Larin in front of my client, that's just not done," Murphy said in an interview.

Ian Bonnell/CBC

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The RCMP filed a notice of intent to defend in September, but the court file doesn't include a detailed statement of defence yet.

In her statement of claim, filed in August, Gallant said she encountered Larin as she was entering the file room and heard the door close behind her.

As she went to grab the file, Gallant said Larin was behind her. She said he grabbed her arm from the back, turned her around and kissed her on the lips.

"I told him to stop, don't do that," Gallant said in an August interview.

"Then when I turned to leave, that's when he did a bear hug underneath my breast. He pressed his body against me."

She said she kept telling Larin to stop, but he asked her to marry him.

"He grabbed my arm, trying to kiss me again," Gallant said in August.

"Then I just pulled away and went back to work."

'Discouraged from pursuing charges'

According to the statement of claim, an investigation was launched, Larin was suspended "and limitations on his access to RCMP buildings were put into place."

Gallant didn't ask whether the investigation was criminal or internal.

The claim says the investigation by Cpl. Patricia Levesque "revealed that Larin had been acting in a way that made his co-workers uncomfortable for some time."

The full report was not filed in court with the lawsuit and is only referenced in the statement of claim.

Ian Bonnell/CBC

Gallant's claim alleges she was "discouraged from pursuing charges against Larin and the RCMP by members of the RCMP," who warned it would attract media attention and could affect her two daughters.

Instead, the complaint was resolved at a "restorative justice forum," which required her to face Larin and describe how she felt about his actions, Gallant said.

Murphy said it's been difficult for Gallant because she didn't feel supported in her workplace.

"More than monetary damages, she wants to make this not happen again to any other people who are in support roles in RCMP detachments across the country," Murphy said.

A cross-claim

The statement of defence from Larin's estate also includes a cross-claim against the RCMP.

In the event the estate is found to be responsible in law for any damages suffered by Gallant, it alleges the RCMP was negligent "by failing to foresee that the deceased Allan Larin was a danger to everyone at RCMP District 5 Richibucto detachment."

It also alleges the RCMP was negligent by "failing to address the risks that Larin posed to his co-workers and the public in general," "by failing to provide a safe and secure workplace" and "by failing to impose any penalties upon Larin beyond the original suspension."

Jeorge Sadi/CBC

"The defendant estate states that the RCMP is vicariously liable for the alleged actions of the deceased Larin," the statement of defence says.

Reached by phone last week, Larin's wife declined to comment on the statement of defence.

New Brunswick RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh also declined comment.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on a matter that is before the court," Rogers-Marsh wrote in an email.