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.
OFFICERS NO LONGER WITH VICPD
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Russia said Saturday it has withdrawn its troops from the once-occupied city of Lyman, as Ukraine's eastern counteroffensive recaptures more territory. Russia's Tass and RIA news agencies, citing the Russian defense ministry, made the announcement.
Former Canadian senator Don Meredith is facing sexual assault charges in connection with incidents that allegedly took place nearly a decade ago.
Offices in Canada still haven't returned to their pre-pandemic occupancy rates, and now a growing number of underused buildings are being converted into apartments and condominiums. CTVNews.ca takes a look at this trend.
As Hurricane Ian ravaged coastal towns in southwest Florida, residents in this quiet suburb thought they would be safe, having no beach and living outside areas under evacuation orders. But then the water kept flowing in.
The defense team in the U.S. Capitol riot trial of the Oath Keepers leader is relying on an unusual strategy with Donald Trump at the center.
Some five per cent of global COVID-19 survivors have now developed long-lasting taste and smell problems, according to a 2022 study. More than two years into the pandemic, researchers found an estimated 15 million people may still have problems perceiving odours, while 12 million may struggle with taste.
Canada is headed for a 'severe' and 'almost inevitable' recession in early 2023, according to the head of economics at Macquarie Group, which states Canada will face an approximately three per cent contraction in gross domestic product and a five per cent rise in its unemployment rate during the predicted recession.
W5 INVESTIGATES | Fewer firefighters mean slower response times, jeopardizing lives
Saturday at 7 p.m.: a CTV W5 investigation reveals that a critical shortage of volunteer firefighters in this country is having a potentially deadly impact, especially in rural Canada.
The Danish Energy Agency says one of two ruptured natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea appears to have stopped leaking natural gas.
An employee has died on the job while working on some trees at a popular park in North Vancouver.
Seemingly endless summer conditions in British Columbia have prompted a warning that this year's “very unique fire season” in the province is not yet over.
Almost exactly a month after joining the B.C. Lions in a trade from the Montreal Alouettes, the veteran quarterback threw his first touchdown pass in orange and black on Friday, propelling his team to a 34-19 victory over the ailing Ottawa Redblacks.
A prominent member of Edmonton's soccer community was one of two victims in Wednesday's fatal crash in Mill Woods.
Fans in Edmonton were celebrating seeing Connor McDavid make it to the final whistle as much as getting a victory on Friday.
The province unveiled images of a new permanent statue to be placed on Alberta legislature grounds that will honour residential school survivors and the children that never made it home.
Toronto's election is less than a month away. Here's what some mayoral candidates are pledging ahead of upcoming debate
Toronto’s municipal election is less than a month away, but there seems to be a lack of campaign buzz across the city.
Following a two-year hiatus for the pandemic, Toronto's Nuit Blanche is returning this year with public art projects from 150 artists.
Ontario’s minimum wage has gone up. Here's what you need to know.
Winter road rules kick in across B.C.; upgraded tires required on many highways commonly travelled by Albertans
If you're B.C.-bound, bear in mind Saturday was the day winter road rules kicked in across the province to the left of us.
The nerves were high for Tsuaki Marule as she sang O Canada in front of thousands of fans at the Toronto Blue Jays game on Friday.
Calgarians gathered to remember, educate and listen on Friday for the country's second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Indigenous leaders in Quebec are lamenting the fact that their communities' priorities have been largely ignored in the current election campaign that is coming to a close.
CAQ leader Francois Legault said his party has run the 'best' campaign and responded to critics, saying he is standing up for Quebec culture.
Dominique Anglade said Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) leader François Legault has tainted Quebec's international reputation with his campaign.
Employees who have suffered wage losses due to the destruction of post-tropical storm Fiona on Prince Edward Island are set to benefit from a new program by the provincial government.
‘The truth hurts but it also heals’: Halifax recognizes the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Drums and singing could be heard at the Grand Parade in Halifax as many gathered in orange to honour residential school survivors and those who never returned home.
Major clean-up efforts continue in Cape Breton on Friday as many on the island remain in the dark.
Thousands of people marked Canada's second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a walk through downtown Winnipeg Friday.
A memorial sculpture honouring those lost and affected by the residential school system is giving Winnipeggers a new gathering place for truth and reconciliation.
Emergency crews were on the scene of a multi-vehicle collision at the corner of Portage Avenue and the Perimeter Highway Friday.
The driver of a motorcycle is dead following a crash on Highway 7 just outside of Guelph.
A man is dead, and Brantford Police say they’ve taken an 18-year-old man into custody, in a homicide investigation that began to unfold on Thursday evening.
Waterloo regional police are investigating a report of a sexual assault in Kitchener.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers forced six turnovers including a pair of interceptions in a 31-13 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night at IG Field.
'I still struggle': Residential school survivors share stories during National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
People in Regina gathered at the Eagle Heart Centre on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. For the community it's a time to acknowledge.
Ceremonies, marches and other gatherings are taking place across the country Friday as communities mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The federal statutory holiday was established last year to remember children who died while being forced to attend residential schools, as well as those who survived, and the families and communities still affected by lasting trauma.
For the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, CTVNews.ca spoke to several Indigenous leaders about feelings around the day more than a year since the suspected gravesites made world news, and in the weeks following Queen Elizabeth II death that took over the news cycle during a month when decolonization is meant to be top of mind.
The home of a former Barrie, Ont. family living in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, was destroyed as Hurricane Fiona hit the coast last week.
Toronto city councillor Michael Thompson has been charged with sexual assault, his lawyer has told CP24.
Shirley Isbister had trouble believing her eyes Friday as she stood at the bottom of Victoria Park in Saskatoon watching more than 1,000 people dressed in orange shirts pour in from the street above for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
More than four thousand people attended the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) Pow Wow and Concert at SaskTel Centre on Friday.
As of this morning, travellers to Canada do not need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 -- and wearing a mask on planes and trains is now optional, though it is still recommended.
A partnership between Sudbury’s NOSM University and SNOLAB has researchers looking into the effects of space cosmic radiation.
Ontario's ninth Indigenous university officially opened in Sault Ste. Marie across from a former residential school on National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.