Toronto police officer demoted for inappropriate interactions with female cadets

·2 min read
A Toronto police officer will be demoted from first-class constable to fourth class for a year for having inappropriate interactions with multiple female police cadets, a tribunal decided on Monday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
A Toronto police officer will be demoted from first-class constable to fourth class for a year for having inappropriate interactions with multiple female police cadets, a tribunal decided on Monday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

A Toronto police officer has been found guilty and demoted for having inappropriate interactions with multiple female police cadets, the Toronto Police Service tribunal decided on Monday.

Const. Michael Fernandes faced four charges of discreditable conduct for the interactions at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer. He was found guilty on one charge. The prosecutor dropped the other three.

Fernandes will be demoted from first class constable to fourth class for 12 months, followed by 12 months at third class constable. Then, he'll be second class constable for another year until he's returned to his original rank.

His salary in each of those periods will reflect his rank, meaning the demotion comes with pay cuts, the police service told CBC News.

He has also been ordered to report to Toronto Police Medical Advisory Services for at least 36 months to ensure his sobriety, and may have to be randomly tested for the consumption of alcohol.

Fernandes has also been ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and continue counselling.

'Creepy,' 'weird,' 'inappropriate' and 'gross'

Fernandes attended the college for advanced police training between Oct. 28 and Oct. 30 of 2019, according to an agreed statement of facts provided to CBC News by the police service.

Seven female officers filed complaints against Fernandes. All seven incidents happened while he was under the influence of alcohol, according to the statement of facts.

The complainants described Fernandes's behaviour as "creepy," "weird," "inappropriate" and "gross."

Every complainant believed that he engaged with them for a sexual purpose, according to the statement of facts.

One incident states that Fernandes accompanied a cadet to the washroom without her asking him to do so.

Fernandes also went to the student lounge multiple times to speak to female cadets and offer to buy them drinks despite repeatedly being asked to leave the lounge, which is only open to cadets.

CBC News has reached out to his lawyer, Gary Clewley, for comment.

Fernandes was previously charged with discreditable conduct under the Police act for a separate incident in 2017 involving a woman in Victoria who alleged Fernandes kissed her without consent. He pleaded guilty to that incident in December and was temporarily reduced in rank from first class constable to second class constable.

The tribunal told Fernandes that this was his "final opportunity" to continue being a police officer.

"You can thank your counsel and the assurances provided by [your doctor] that you will maintain your course of treatment and that I'll never see you here again in this tribunal, sir," said Toronto Police Superintendent Riyaz Hussein.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting