Ottawa cop acquitted of sexual misconduct against rookie colleague

Const. Kevin Benloss was suspended with pay from the Ottawa Police Service in September 2020. He was acquitted of charges under the Police Services Act on Tuesday, but remains suspended with pay pending the outcome of criminal charges in an unrelated case. (Q3 studios/Hoopstars - image credit)
Const. Kevin Benloss was suspended with pay from the Ottawa Police Service in September 2020. He was acquitted of charges under the Police Services Act on Tuesday, but remains suspended with pay pending the outcome of criminal charges in an unrelated case. (Q3 studios/Hoopstars - image credit)

WARNING: The following story contains disturbing details and explicit descriptions of sex that may distress some readers, particularly those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

An Ottawa police officer accused of sexually assaulting a rookie colleague in 2011 has been acquitted of any misconduct for the allegations.

Const. Kevin Benloss was found not guilty of discreditable conduct and insubordination under the Police Services Act late Tuesday afternoon, following a disciplinary hearing that began in February.

In his 114-page decision, hearing officer Greg Walton — a retired Ontario Provincial Police superintendent — said he did "not accept that [the complainant] was an unwilling participant in the events that unfolded."

He ruled the woman had planned to meet up with Benloss after spending time with him at her home for hours weeks before, and that he was "not convinced" the rookie constable "consumed as much alcohol as [she] claimed," or that she was "coaxed" into Benloss' vehicle.

"Benloss touched [her] in a sexual manner … but I am not convinced that he did so while [she] was in and out of consciousness and without her consent," the decision reads.

Walton also said he found the woman's testimony at times to be "troubling," "implausible," and "too convenient."

CBC News is not naming the woman because she is a complainant of sexual assault.

Force had sought dismissal

The Ottawa Police Service laid the misconduct offences in November 2020, and was seeking Benloss' dismissal.

The force alleged he acted in a manner likely to bring discredit on or harm the reputation of the service when, on March 13, 2011, he "engaged in communication and/or physical and/or sexual contact towards a sworn member … that [he] ought to have known was unwelcome, unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate."

He was also charged with one count of insubordination for allegedly breaching the force's respectful workplace policy.


The accusation first came to the public's attention after the complainant filed a human rights complaint against the force, alleging she was raped, stalked and repeatedly propositioned by nearly two dozen Ottawa police employees.

That complaint has since been settled.

The allegations involving Benloss were the only ones formally prosecuted by the service. The case was investigated by OPP but did not result in criminal charges.

Accounts of evening 'diametrically opposed'

During her closing submissions, police prosecutor Louise Morel said the case was "about a young woman who had her control, power and physical integrity taken away."

While the test in the hearing was whether Benloss' behaviour was likely to discredit the police force's reputation and whether he disobeyed workplace policy, the case centred on an allegation of nonconsensual sex alleged to have happened after an off-duty birthday party for another police officer at the Crazy Horse bar in Kanata.

They both agreed that they went to Benloss' house together, but after that, their accounts of the night were "diametrically opposed," Morel said.

The hearing heard from nine witnesses including the complainant — who was cross-examined for five days — and Benloss, who testified in his own defence.

The complainant maintained she was intoxicated, felt forced into accepting a ride from Benloss, and that instead of taking her home, he detoured to his own house where he gave her a fizzy drink, took away her phone and sexually assaulted her while she was in and out of consciousness.

Lawyers scrutinized whether the complainant asked for a makeup wipe, and whether Benloss' frameless mattress on a boxspring would have allowed for sexual intercourse the way both officers allege it happened.

The hearing even heard from Benloss' roommate about what he heard that night — the sound of a woman enjoying herself during sex, or sobbing and berating through the walls. He said he didn't hear anything.

Benloss testified that the complainant straddled him topless and asked if he had a condom. They then had consensual sex, he said, consisting of several sexual acts, including the complainant being on top of him during intercourse.

He described on the stand that he knew she consented because she yelled "F--- me, f--- me, f--- me hard."

Defence argued changing narrative, fabricated story

In written submissions to the tribunal, defence lawyer Peter Thorning argued not just that the sex was consensual, but that the complainant fabricated the story for an unknown reason and continued to change it to suit her needs.

"The complainant in this case was spectacularly dishonest. Her evidence was marked by performative outbursts, and full to the brim with exaggeration, and outright prevarication," Thorning argued.

"The complainant's singular goal was to control the narrative at this hearing. A narrative designed to convince the public, her friends, and anyone who would listen that she did not intentionally engage in conduct that she now deeply regrets and seeks redress for."

In his decision, Walton ruled that while he finds it "unlikely that a police officer would fabricate allegations of this nature," the evidence failed to meet the burden of clear and convincing proof.

He found it "difficult to accept" that she drank the "beyond just excessive" amount of alcohol she claimed, which a toxicologist estimated would have been more than seven times the legal limit.

Walton said that's a degree of impairment "rarely attained." He also wasn't convinced Benloss ever gave her a fizzy drink.

Texts to ex-boyfriend were coherent

Text messages she sent to her ex-boyfriend sent throughout the night were coherent despite how much alcohol she claimed to have drunk, Walton found.

"I find it difficult to accept that [she] would be able to draft the above noted text messages, nor would she be able to recall specific points of conversation such as 'Why are you doing this when I am not participating?' or 'Oh my god, put a condom on' had she consumed alcohol to the extent claimed."

The woman testified that when she wouldn't kiss Benloss in his room, he berated her. Walton said he was "uncertain" why she "didn't leave the bedroom after he leaned in to kiss her or after being berated."

The complainant "said she was upset that he was coming onto her. She was alert enough to go to the bathroom but chose to not leave the room. [She] said she had no recollection of how she ended up back on the bed."

The woman testified she awoke to find Benloss "performing oral sex, and rather than express outrage and demand that he stop, she asked why he was doing it," Walton said.

Walton had trouble accepting the gap in her memory at that precise moment, he said. "It seems too convenient."

The hearing officer also found it troubling that while disclosing the allegation to a close friend, the complainant "failed to mention she had been passed out or that she was unable to call for a cab because Constable Benloss had taken and was in possession of her cellphone."

He questioned the "veracity" of the complainant's claim that Benloss had the phone she used after the sexual encounter to continue to text her ex-boyfriend.

'I did nothing wrong,' officer says

In a statement to CBC News, Benloss said the verdict "has vindicated me and I am relieved that this nightmare is over."

"These fabricated allegations severely affected my standing as a police officer and derailed my personal life. I hope that the people who learned about these allegations in the media will also read that I was found not guilty," the statement continued.

"I did not do this. I did nothing wrong and the tribunal agreed."

Benloss remains suspended with pay. He is facing criminal charges for sexual assault, assault, voyeurism and criminal harassment in an unrelated case, and his next court appearance on those charges is later this month.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.