N.S. police watchdog charges Mountie with indecent exposure

A Nova Scotia RCMP officer has been charged with indecent exposure following an investigation by the province's police watchdog.

The Serious Incident Response Team announced Tuesday that Const. Justin Sanford of the Baddeck detachment is facing a single charge for violating section 173(1) of the Criminal Code.

The agency said the RCMP reached out in December about an investigation they were conducting into an incident alleged to have occurred in 2021.

After conducting its own investigation, the agency deemed the charge was "appropriate in the circumstances."

In a statement on Wednesday, the RCMP said the Eskasoni detachment commander became aware of allegations of sexual misconduct made against Sanford on Dec. 12, 2022. Sanford, 34, was posted to the Eskasoni detachment at the time.

"The matter was immediately referred to the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team, and I suspended Const. Sanford from duty," Assistant Commissioner Dennis Daley, commanding officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP, said in the statement.

"These criminal charges are disturbing and Const. Sanford, who's been an RCMP member for five years, remains suspended from duty."

He added that an internal code of conduct process has begun.

Section 173(1) of the Criminal Code refers to anyone charged with "an indecent act in a public place in the presence of one or more persons, or in any place with intent to insult or offend any person."

Sanford is expected to appear at the Sydney Provincial Court on April 28.