Psychologist Mike Webster says RCMP old-boys network explains why Don Ray is still a Mountie
Mountie Don Ray exposed his penis to a female subordinate, had sex with another at the polygraph room during lunch breaks and after-office hours, engaged in intercourse with a third one at a public parking lot, and harassed a fourth employee by calling her a "hottie".
The disgraced cop admitted to all of these and more. He also provided and consumed alcohol at the office.
He could have been dismissed from the service, according to police psychologist Mike Webster.
Instead, Ray got a reprimand, demoted from the rank of staff sergeant to sergeant, docked 10 days pay, and got transferred from Alberta to B.C.
“The reason Mr. Ray still has his job is because it’s an old-boys network,” Webster told the Straight in a phone interview on June 1.
That was also the day when the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision that quashed efforts by RCMP officers to form a union.
The appeal court reversed a 2009 decision by the Ontario Superior Court that stated that it was unconstitutional to block members of the national police force to form a labour association.
Commenting on the latest decision, Webster said that the creation of a union “would have been one of the cornerstones in the transformation of the RCMP”.
“RCMP senior management and executives have been accountable to no one since their inception,” Webster said. “Consequently they have created a toxic workplace, high levels of employee stress, and a culture of fear.”
In the case of Ray, Webster said that his career was saved by his superiors and colleagues, who wrote letters of support for him.
He said that it’s all explained in the January 31, 2012 decision rendered on Ray’s case by an adjudication board composed of three senior RCMP officers.
“It was very revealing why Mr. Ray did not lose his job,” said Webster, who provided the Straight a copy of the board’s ruling.
Webster contrasted the handling of the Ray case to that of another RCMP officer who had engaged in many sex escapades.
Now ex-constable Trent Richards was ordered to resign in 2008. While on duty in Shawnigan Lake, B.C., he engaged in sex with different women on at least 15 occasions. He also posed in police uniform in online dating sites.
Richards appealed the decision, but left the force in 2011.
This shows that although the disciplinary process may be slow, it can work if the RCMP demonstrates leadership, according to Webster.
“Leadership is all about heart,” Webster said. “It’s all about a deep sense of justice.”