An Ottawa constable who divulged police information to a sexual assault complainant he once pursued for a threesome will be demoted for 15 months.
Const. Troy Forgie pleaded guilty in April to insubordination, breach of confidence and discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.
In August 2020, a woman messaged Forgie on Facebook asking for help getting away from her abusive boyfriend, according to an agreed statement of facts.
At the woman's request, Forgie conducted multiple searches months after the woman's original plea for help, said police prosecutor Vanessa Stewart in April.
Forgie said after his guilty plea he "provided her the least amount of information" he could to "give her peace of mind when she was scared," and he was sympathetic to a victim of sexual assault who was navigating a maze to get simple answers.
He told the hearing he'd never met the woman in person, but had earlier communicated with her on a social media app. According to sources, Forgie was previously pursuing the woman sexually and was talking with her on the app for the purpose of setting up a threesome.
The prosecution filed a series of text messages between Forgie and the woman that were previously alleged to have included sexual photographs and videos that Forgie allegedly viewed while on duty.
Force's reputation damaged, ruling says
Retired Ottawa police superintendent Chris Renwick wrote in his decision, dated July 26, that the offences are serious and damaged the reputation of the police force.
"The unauthorized accessing … and the sharing of information to a member of the public, no matter what the motivation or the level of information shared, will give cause for the public to lessen their trust and confidence in their police service," he wrote.
"The penalty for such breaches of oaths, policy, and general orders must reflect the seriousness of the loss in public trust."
He said Forgie will be demoted from first-class constable to second-class constable for 15 months.
In 2014, Forgie was demoted for eight months after falsifying a report to turn a suspect into a confidential informant.
Renwick wrote that this was a factor in his decision, along with what he said were generally 15 years of "stellar" service.
The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) had been seeking to fire the officer, but abandoned that plan to seek a two-year demotion, while Forgie's defence lawyer Connie D'Angelo argued for 20 days of forfeited pay.
Both would have been significant financial penalties, Renwick said, calling a demotion a much more severe penalty than forfeiting pay.