A Kelowna woman is suing a former RCMP officer alleging he sexually harassed and sexually assaulted her.
The civil claim alleges that former officer Brian Mathew Burkett threatened to ensure the woman served a prison sentence if she didn’t have sex with him.
According to the notice of civil claim, Burkett had the woman’s car impounded in February 2016 after she admitted she was a prohibited driver.
The lawsuit alleges that the woman thought Burkett was collecting her personal information as part of the police investigation, but that he used it to sexually harass her.
In text messages, Burkett told the woman he would be visiting her while he was on duty and outlined sexual acts he expected her to perform, the lawsuit alleges.
The notice of civil claim alleges Burkett also made “repeated threatening phone calls” to the woman at work and harassed her via social media “even after the RCMP arrested him for breach of trust.”
After the woman told Burkett she was distressed he said they should meet and he would take her to get help, , the claim states.
“Burkett met with the plaintiff while on duty and manipulated and threatened the plaintiff again with prison as part of his scheme to force the plaintiff to have sex with him in his car,” the plaintiff’s lawyer, Michael Patterson, writes in the notice of civil claim.
“The threats, blackmail and manipulation left the plaintiff feeling powerless. Burkett sexually assaulted the plaintiff in his vehicle and left the plaintiff on the side of the road,” the civil claim states.
The lawsuit claims that Burkett’s supervisor “refused to accept” the woman’s formal complaint and that the RCMP failed to protect the woman and ensure her personal information wasn’t “used as a weapon of sexual harassment.”
The suit states the woman suffered both financially and emotionally and “left the Kelowna area to avoid further harassment by Burkett.”
Burkett has not yet filed a response to the civil suit, which was launched two days ago, and none of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.
The RCMP said the force is aware of the lawsuit and any official response will come through the court process.
“Given this matter is now before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” said Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet in a statement.
Court records show the woman was fined $300 and prohibited from driving for 60 days for driving without a driver’s licence on the date the lawsuit states Burkett had her car impounded.
— With files from Jules Knox
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