RCMP reaches sexual assault settlement with former Musical Ride member

The RCMP has reached a settlement with a staff sergeant who sued the force claiming sexual assault and harassment while she was a member of the equestrian Musical Ride show in the 1980s.

Staff Sgt. Caroline O'Farrell brought her lawsuit against the RCMP in May 2013, detailing abusive treatment she received from male colleagues in 1986 and 1987.

The law firm Nelligan O'Brien Payne announced the settlement in a news release Thursday, but didn't disclose any details due to a confidentiality agreement.

"I am pleased we have been able to reach a settlement. But it makes no sense that we went through the time, expense and stress to get to where we are now, when the allegations were substantiated  through a protracted internal investigation by the RCMP itself," O'Farrell is quoted saying in the release.

The RCMP conducted an investigation at the time of her complaints, but "the perpetrators received little in the way of any consequences and O'Farrell was simply removed from the Ride," according to her lawyers.

She continued with her career at the RCMP and remains in active service. Prior to the settlement, the RCMP tried unsuccessfully to have the lawsuit thrown out.

"I am happy to see that women in the RCMP are finally being compensated for the many wrongs that have occurred over the years," O'Farrell is also quoted as saying. 

"It is time to heal these wounds and to make sure that our working environment is safe, fair and free of harassment, bullying and intimidation for all members of the force."