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Victoria police, former Esquimalt officers hit with sexual abuse lawsuit


This story contains graphic details about sexual abuse allegations. Please read with care.

The Victoria Police Department and four former Esquimalt police officers are being sued for $5.3 million over sexual abuse allegations dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.

Scott Connors, Robert Cowick, Samuel Devana and Kenneth Cockle are named as defendants in the notice of civil claim, filed with the B.C. Supreme Court on Nov. 12. VicPD is named because it merged with the Esquimalt Police Department in 2003.

The claim details alleged harassment and assault against a woman identified only as Jane Doe, starting in 1989, when she was 17 years old. None of the allegations have been proven or tested in court.

The lawsuit says the plaintiff, now 49, became known to the now defunct Esquimalt Police Department in 1989, when she was arrested for theft.

Soon after, Const. Connors approached Doe, asking if she knew anything about someone possessing drugs — the introduction that led to Doe becoming an informant for Esquimalt police, the suit says.

For the next several years, it’s alleged Connors was harassed and abused by several officers, including Connors, her handler as an informant.

He made unwelcome sexual comments and, “gradually, Connors began touching Jane Doe in increasingly invasive ways, when he was both on duty and off duty,” the suit claims.

Between 1992 and 1993, the plaintiff claims another officer, Const. Cowick, solicited oral sex from her while on duty on several occasions.


“Cowick often picked Jane Doe up in his police vehicle and drove her to an isolated area where he required Jane Doe to perform oral sex him,” the notice of claim reads.

“Jane Doe felt obligated to perform oral sex on Cowick and considered whether it was part of her responsibility to Cowick as a police informant for the Esquimalt Police Department.”

The lawsuit also alleges abuse at the hands of Const. Kenneth Cockle, detailing myriad allegations, including the claim that he raped Doe in a parking lot in 1992.

“Jane Doe could not have legally consented to sexual touching by Cockle given the power imbalance, economic dependency, and age disparity between them,” the claim says.

The plaintiff accuses Const. Samuel Devana, the fourth and final officer named as a defendant, of assaulting her, including one incident in 1992, when he allegedly tried to force her to perform oral sex in a secluded area of a bar.

"The individual defendants were in a position of trust, power, and authority over Jane Doe. Jane Doe was acutely vulnerable to their betrayal of her trust,” the claim reads.

Victoria police confirmed Connors, Cockle, Cowick and Devana no longer work for VicPD.

“It would be inappropriate to comment on a matter that is before the courts,” spokesperson Const. Cam MacIntyre said in an email. “In addition, the incidents alleged in this claim pre-date the amalgamation of the Victoria and Esquimalt police departments.”

MacIntyre referred CTV News to the Township of Esquimalt, which is not named in the civil claim.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said she can’t comment because the matter is before the courts.

Anna Matas, the plaintiff’s lawyer, also declined comment.


In 1995, Victoria police investigated Doe’s claims, and found many were corroborated by other witnesses and supporting records, the suit claims.

Despite investigators’ recommendations, the suit says then-Esquimalt police chief Peter Marriott decided against formally disciplining the four officers.

The suit also details an inquiry by the Esquimalt Municipal Police Board, which also didn’t result in disciplinary action.

The inquiry cleared Devana due to lack of evidence.

The allegations against Connors were dismissed because Doe halted her testimony due to feelings of “psychological terror” when Connors “began to taunt Jane Doe by smiling and laughing at her,” the claim says.

The suit says Doe arranged an informal resolution of her complaints against Cockle and Cowick.

The plaintiff now lives in Quebec, where she continues to suffer from psychological damage related to the allegations, the claim says.

Survivors of sexual violence can contact the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre for support at 250-383-3232 or Top Stories

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