injusticebusters logo

Pickton Investigators were indifferent

Mountie Cpl. Catherine Galliford speaks out

Catherine Galliford

A high-profile Mountie who recently came forward with allegations of sexual harassment in the RCMP has now made sensational new claims about the investigation of serial killer Robert Pickton.

Cpl. Catherine Galliford told CBC News earlier this month about abusive treatment inside the national police force, including sexual advances from several senior officers.

Galliford was the RCMP's spokeswoman during the Robert Pickton investigation and is scheduled to speak at the ongoing inquiry into the case, and told CBC News some of what she will reveal at the inquiry.

“They would break between noon and 2 to just drink and party and go for lunch”

Galliford says she saw numerous problems inside the investigation, including investigators who were more interested in padding their paycheques and drinking alcohol than catching a serial killer.

"They would break between noon and 2 p.m. to just drink and party and go for lunch, but then they would go back to work on Friday and claim double-time," she said Wednesday.

"There was a police indifference and that, I believe, is why it went on for so long [to catch Pickton], and why so many women lost their lives."

Pickton was eventually arrested in 2002, when a junior officer who wasn't working on the missing women investigation obtained a search warrant related to illegal firearms. The arrest set off a massive search of Pickton's farm, where investigators found the remains or DNA of 33 women.

Pickton was eventually convicted of six counts of second-degree murder, though he has claimed that he killed a total of 49 women.

Galliford joined the Missing Women's Task Force, which was hunting for a serial killer in the Vancouver area, in 2001.

She says she learned after joining the force there was a lot of information pointing to Pickton, but couldn't understand why police weren't trying to obtain a search warrant for his farm, where the remains of women were eventually found.

Galliford says there were internal squabbles and petty jealousies inside the task force, which was comprised of RCMP and Vancouver police officers.

She says she became a target, and that at one point an officer from the Vancouver Police Department told her - in front of others - that he was writing a story about Pickton in his head.

"He said, 'I have a fantasy about the ending, and it's about Pickton escaping from jail, stripping you naked, stringing you from a meat hook and gutting you like a pig,'" Galliford said. "And they actually started laughing and fist-tapping each other."

Galliford is currently on sick leave from the RCMP [in the dog house], saying years of harassment led to post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological problems.

Galliford is scheduled to testify at the inquiry some time in 2012, when she says she will reveal more about the Pickton investigation.

Vancouver Police indifference allowed crimes which paralyse the imagination

They had in their hands a tape which, had they acted on the information in it, could have saved the lives of twenty-two of the women pictured on the margin of this page. -- Sheila Steele April 27, 2002

Cops watched porn, skipped work instead of investigating missing women: Galliford

RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, the former calm, professional voice and face of the Missing Women Task Force, said Tuesday she knows her evidence will be "explosive" when she appears at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Galliford, 44, is slated to testify at the inquiry in January, but says she won't be testifying for the RCMP, but rather on behalf of the victims.

“had enough evidence for a search warrant of serial killer's farm”

In an interview, and in a 115-page statement given to the RCMP, Galliford said top Mounties had "enough evidence for a search warrant" of serial killer Robert Pickton's farm in 1999. From 1999 to 2002 14 women were brutally murdered by Pickton, a fact that haunts Galliford.

She says she will testify that both RCMP and VPD officers, even after the Missing Women Task Force was formed in 2001, engaged in sexual liaisons and harassment, watched porn and left work early "to go drinking and partying."

"The saddest part of this is that the women who were killed were the most vulnerable people in our society, other than children," she said.

"I will not be testifying on behalf of the RCMP at the inquiry," she said, saying her first concern is for people whose loved ones didn't have to die.

"Tell the families," said Galliford, her voice breaking, in an interview with The Province on Tuesday. "I've got their back."

Galliford's statement to the RCMP contains serious allegations that have not been proven.

Galliford, who has been off work for four years with post-traumatic stress disorder, is agoraphobic and reluctant to leave home, but is taking Veterans Affairs' medical aid, and is "finally healing" and plans to go to law school.

Galliford said she was constantly sexually harassed and bullied by some RCMP officers, although she emphasizes that she also worked with "many fine police officers, both men and women, who cared deeply about missing women."

Galliford agrees with the conclusions of Peel, Ont., Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans, who has reported to the inquiry that top RCMP and VPD officers on the missing women case displayed "a lack of leadership and commitment."

When very junior RCMP Const. Nathan Wells finally obtained a firearms search warrant on Feb. 5, 2002, for the Pickton farm, Galliford said, she confronted a top RCMP officer, telling him, "You've known this since 1999."

The officer, who is also slated to testify, ignored her, she said.

"He is a misogynist, which is probably why he blew off the missing women investigation," said Galliford, noting he got rid of other female officers.

One of the women he "bumped out" had developed a "brilliant protocol" to identify the women's remains through DNA obtained from Pap smears, she said.

Perhaps the most chilling thing that happened to her, Galliford said, came after the gruesome details had begun to emerge about how Pickton butchered women and scattered their remains at his Port Coquitlam farm or dumped them at an East Vancouver rendering plant, West Coast Reduction.

A group of RCMP personnel were, she said, constantly "making jokes about sex toys," laughing and giving each other "fist bumps."

The officers, Galliford alleged, wanted to tell her about "their fantasy."

"They wanted to see Willie Pickton escape from prison, track me down and strip me naked, string me up on a meat hook and gut me like a pig," said Galliford, who also recounted the episode in her formal statement to RCMP.

Galliford said one officer did not join in and also was horrified. "He just looked at me, like, 'Holy crap.' He didn't last, either."

Galliford said she does not want to publicly name the officers to avoid legal repercussions and to help focus on the needs of the victims' families to finally achieve justice.

Lilliane Beaudoin, whose sister, Dianne Rock, was confined, beaten and raped twice at the Pickton farm before Pickton finally murdered her in October 2001, predicts Galliford "is going to blow this inquiry wide open."

"My sister would be alive today, along with 13 other women, if the RCMP and VPD cared enough about women going missing from the Downtown Eastside," said a visibly upset Beaudoin as she read Galliford's report late Tuesday.

"The real story of why the police let Pickton keep killing our sisters and daughters, when they had evidence about him almost murdering a sex worker at his farm back in 1997, is going to come out, for sure. We are waiting."

At least 18 women were killed by Pickton after 1998. Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard has told the Missing Women Inquiry that by then police had "solid, corroborating" eyewitness and informant evidence that Pickton was killing women.

The inquiry is looking into how the VPD failed to stop Pickton from abducting women from 1997 until 2002, when Coquitlam RCMP finally arrested Pickton.

B.C. Mountie alleges years of sexual harassment

“If I had a dime every time one of my bosses asked me to sit on his knee, I'd be on a yacht in the Bahamas right now”

CBC News has learned that one of B.C.'s highest profile Mounties says she's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after years of sexual harassment.

Const. Catherine Galliford was the face of the B.C. RCMP for years. During her tenure as the RCMP's spokesperson, Galliford announced the arrest of Robert William Pickton and revealed charges had been laid in the Air India bombing.

But in an internal RCMP complaint, Galliford makes serious allegations about misconduct inside the RCMP. She shared the complaint with CBC News and spoke with reporter Natalie Clancy about her claims.

"Everything that came out of his [a supervisor's] mouth was sexual," Galliford said. "If I had a dime for every time one of my bosses asked me to sit on his knee, I'd be on a yacht in the Bahamas right now."

Galliford says she faced constant sexual advances from several senior officers from the moment she graduated from the RCMP Academy in 1991.

She outlines years of harassment in a 115-page internal complaint that the RCMP has yet to respond to, including allegations a supervisor on the Missing Women's Task Force lied to colleagues when he said they were intimate and that he even exposed himself to her.

"He said, 'I have something to show you' ... and pulled out an appendage. He wanted to show me his mole because he wanted to know if I thought it was cute," she said.

"I said, 'Lets go back to the office. We're late. Put it back in your pants.'"

According to Galliford, a supervisor on the Air India Task Force was even more direct.

"One of my bosses kept trying to be intimate with me throughout my time on Air India and kept on taking me on the road trying to have sex with me," she said.

"We don't have any new information to share with the Air India families right now, so why are we going on this trip? And no one said anything, but it was because he wanted to give the perception that we were a couple."

Galliford says the command and control structure at the RCMP means Mounties are instructed to do as they're told, or risk getting reprimanded.

"If they can't screw you, they are going to screw you over. And that's what it became like and so I started to normalize the harassment because I didn't know what else to do," she said.

"It just got to the point that after I had about 16 years of service, I broke. I completely broke."

In 2007, Galliford joined the ranks of 225 B.C. Mounties who are currently off duty on sick leave.

"I've been off work for four years now and I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia and chemical dependency on occasion," Galliford said.

"I was drinking too much to try to bring myself down. I'm not ashamed of that, by the way, because it's like - walk a mile in my shoes."

Now, the woman who once confidently faced hundreds of reporters is afraid to leave her home.

Mike Webster, a consulting police psychologist in private practice, believes Galliford's deteriorating health has little to do with the murder files she worked on, and is directly linked to the harassment she faced from colleagues on the job.

"I don't think there's a female in the outfit who hasn't been approached sexually," Webster said.

"The way her employer handled it afterwards is likely to have had a greater effect on her present mental state than what she went through initially."

“Senior executives accountable to no one”

Webster says Galliford's allegations come as no surprise.

"Senior executives for decades have been accountable to no one and they've created a toxic work environment, high levels of employee stress and a culture of fear," Webster said.

"It's causing a tremendous effect on the morale of the RCMP, so the grievance process doesn't help them at all. What are they going to do? They turn to ODS, off duty sick ... the RCMP membership calls it 'off duty mad.'"

In a statement to CBC News, the RCMP said harassment of any kind is not tolerated. The force also said there have been eight complaints of harassment in B.C. so far this year.

The RCMP says of the 225 officers in B.C. currently off duty sick, 48 are off duty because of workplace conflict and harassment. There are more than 6,000 Mounties working in B.C.

Galliford says she plans to file a lawsuit against the RCMP.

RCMP spokeswoman claims harassment by superiors

“have fantasy about Willy escaping, tracking you, ripping your clothes off, stringing you from a meat hook and gutting you like a pig”--supervisor

A high-profile member of the RCMP in British Columbia is alleging that years of sexual harassment from senior officers has left her suffering from post-traumatic stress.

For years Cpl. Catherine Galliford worked as a spokeswoman for the RCMP, announcing charges in the Air India bombing and addressing the media about police searches of Robert Pickton's now infamous farm.

However, after 16 years on the force Galliford took a leave of absence in 2007. She alleges that recurring sexual harassment from male colleagues has left her traumatized.

She has accused a supervisor of exposing himself to her, and says she suffered other unwanted sexual advances.

"I went to every boss I had at the time and I kept on saying, 'Please don't make me work with these people.' And they didn't do anything," Galliford told CTV News.

She claims that several senior officers were responsible for the harassment.

Mountie Jim Brown

Did Mountie Jim Brown live out this fantasy or was inspired by it?

On one occasion during the Pickton investigation, she says that a supervisor told her: "I have a fantasy about Willy Pickton escaping from jail and tracking you down and ripping your clothes off and stringing you from a meat hook and gutting you like a pig.'"

"My supervisors were laughing," she said.

The Mounties released a statement Tuesday saying that it could not comment on Galliford's allegations but that harassment "is not tolerated."

"The RCMP is committed to providing all its employees a work environment free of harassment, discrimination and conflict, where all employees are treated with respect and dignity," Supt. Kevin DeBruyckere said.

According to police psychologist Mike Webster, however, complaints like Galliford's aren't that uncommon in the world of policing.

"This remains a man's world. It's very difficult for females to get by in that man's world," he said.

"In the RCMP there are no functional, effective processes to get people to address people's complaints like this, nor are there processes to get people back to work," Webster said.

More B.C. Mounties complain of harassment

More members of the RCMP in British Columbia have come forward with serious allegations of harassment after CBC News revealed a well-known Mountie spokeswoman's claims she suffered from years of sexual harassment.

On Monday, CBC News revealed Cpl. Catherine Galliford has filed an internal RCMP complaint alleging repeated sexual harassment from some of her supervisors.

Krista Carle contacted CBC News after hearing Galliford's story, breaking her own long silence.

"I know for a fact there are at least six women that I know [who] have left the force or are still in that have suffered harassment," Carle said. "I'm sure there are others who are afraid to come forward for fear of reprisals."

Carle, who graduated from the RCMP's training academy with Galliford in 1991, says she was harassed and sexually assaulted. She is now off the job and says she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

RCMP management tried to cover up the problems when she complained, Carle told CBC News.

"When I spoke out against the harassment, it wasn't taken seriously and I felt diminished and I felt re-victimized every time I told what happened to me," she said.

Carle is one of four women officers who have sued the RCMP, saying they were sexually assaulted by undercover Sgt. Robert Blundell in the late 1990s.

The women worked for Blundell on undercover investigations in Calgary from 1994 to 1997. According to the statement of claim, they were "individually and separately sexually assaulted and harassed by Sgt. Robert Blundell."

The case was eventually settled in 2007 [2004] with all parties agreeing to keep the terms of the settlement secret.

Blundell was docked one day of vacation and was later promoted to staff sergeant. He is now in charge of protecting VIPs in Vancouver.

Carle's story is just one example of what many Mounties say is wrong with the RCMP.

“you catch yourself thinking, 'Is this person even a police officer?”

A handful of Mounties recently allowed CBC News inside one of their support sessions at a small meeting room outside of Vancouver.

The officers met with Mike Webster, a consulting police psychologist in private practice. They are a handful of the 48 officers the RCMP says are off the job in B.C. because of what the force calls workplace conflict.

The officers, who asked CBC News not use their names, say they are continually bullied and harassed by their superiors.

"Many of the people in charge of us are acting without principle, without morals, without ethics. Sometimes you catch yourself thinking, 'Is this person even a police officer?' It's that shocking," one officer said.

"You go to work, you are sick to your stomach," said another Mountie. "You're expected to go around carrying a gun protecting people when you're more worried about some segment of your own management sector, not knowing what they'll do to you next because they've been malicious underhanded and abusive."

The officers, who have more than 100 years of combined experience on the force, all say they worked under corrupt supervisors at one time or another who bullied their way to promotions.

"They will do anything to get that next promotion on the backs of whomever. To me, that's where the force is sick," one officer said.
[Imagine what they can do to those they try to put away:]

"Because a supervisor wants to be noticed by boss, they've got to find somebody to pick on, and really it's bullying to the extreme," another Mountie said.

The Mounties all say responding to traumatic events and the danger of policing is not what causes them stress.

"I feel safer on the streets than I do in the office at times," said one officer. "I'm not worried about the bad guys. I know the bad guys don't like me. It's the guys in the office and our HR unit, smiling at us, saying they are there for us and they are not."

One Mountie believes the toxic work environment is costing taxpayers because the officers are off duty with full pay. "I know the taxpaying citizens have suffered as a result of the lies," the officer said. "They are not getting the policing they are paying for out of their taxes."

Webster said some officers have been off the job for years despite a clean bill of health because the force uses unlimited sick leave to get rid of Mounties who complain.

"The member escapes into this very strange, very fiscally unsound and organizationally perplexing, unlimited paid sick time," the psychologist said.

The force responded in a written statement sent to CBC News and all RCMP staff in the province.

"The RCMP is clear in its approach to harassment, it is not tolerated," the statement reads.

"The RCMP is committed to providing all its employees a work environment free of harassment, discrimination and conflict, where all employees are treated with respect and dignity. While we cannot speak to specific allegations, we continue to encourage our members to report incidents of harassment when they occur so they can be investigated immediately."

The force says the 48 officers off sick because of workplace conflict represent 0.76 per cent of the province's workforce. The RCMP says those officers are off duty for a variety of reasons, including allegations of harassment, conflict about performance feedback, personality conflicts, frustration about lack of promotions and workload issues.