Serious accusations of sexual assault and misconduct are made about the Toronto Police, from the inside. Four female constables have announced that they are suing the Toronto Police Service over repeated harassment described as “continuous and malicious” by the victims’ lawyer, Howard Levitt.
The four women are allegedly suing after having tried everything in their power to report and stop the behavior through the Toronto Police institution and its complaint system. They have filed complaints to their superiors, each time higher up in the hierarchy, and it not only didn’t stop, but it actually got worse, Mr. Levitt says.
The accusations filed by the four female police officers are related to attempts to destroy them psychologically, retaliation when they tried to complain, all after receiving hundreds of inappropriate text messages, pictures and emails from their harassers.
According to the Toronto sexual assault attorney, the four women have been the victim of constant, degrading sexual harassment by their male partners of the Toronto Police.
Mr. Howard Levitt also claims that such allegations would have gone to only 1% of how far they are now if it all would have happened in a private company. Most businesses have strict policies and tend to react immediately and take action by firing the employees accused of such terrible misconduct.
The Grim Reality of the Toronto Police
What really stands out, in this case, is that the abusers are the same persons that civilians are supposed to ask for help from when the very same thing happens to them. That is this situation raises other deep issues, such as corruption in the law enforcement, the perpetuation of rape culture in the core institutions of the state and the impossible task of the victims to stand up to their abusers.
This case can shake the entire system from its foundation, forcing us to rethink our strategies against sexual abuse and harassment.
In late January 2019, the proceedings are expected to get to the State of Defense.
So far, there hasn’t been any significant disciplinary action taken against the the officers accused of Sexual harassment. Mr. Levitt says, ironically, that when one of the clients filed her complaints, she was disciplined for waiting too long to file a formal complaint.
Given that the four women have not reached a satisfactory result by complaining directly through the police internal procedures, or by filing a human rights claim, a track that quickly could’ve left them bankrupt, they have decided to prepare a lawsuit and take their case to court.
Howard Levitt, their lawyer, stays reserved regarding how the case is going to end and is not optimistic, but hopes that the Toronto Police Service will take this chance to clean up their act and eliminate any behavior that goes in that direction let alone reach the outrageous levels seen in this case.
So far, the Toronto Police Service officials did not release any statement about the upcoming case, but we are expecting an official response very soon, as they are under scrutiny for severe issues: exerting and protecting predator behaviors, an unacceptable situation that cannot be left unaddressed.
Other women in the Toronto Police Service or civilians that have interacted with Toronto police officers and were subjected to any sexually abusive behavior are encouraged to join the list of plaintiffs and speak up against being mistreated by the institutions that should protect them.
That is not the first time the Toronto Police is accused of promoting a work environment that disadvantages women and protects perpetrators of abusive, misogynistic behavior. In 2018, at least two cases were presented in a human rights court, about male police officers making their female colleagues feel unsafe at their workplace.
More details on the story to come.