Warning: The following news story has graphic details
A Mountie who accused a fellow officer of sexually assaulting her was reluctant to come forward but told the truth when she did, a Crown prosecutor told a Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench justice on Thursday.
Former RCMP Const. Jason Tress, 34, is on trial for sexual assault after being accused of kissing or licking a fellow officer’s breast at a party in her home in a small northwestern Alberta community on March 1, 2012.
Crown prosecutor Photini Papadatou said Tress’s alleged victim never wanted to have her assault pursued by the RCMP. When she told other officers about what happened, she tried to swear them to secrecy. When an internal investigation was launched she refused to provide a statement.
“She did not want to feel like a victim,” said Papadatou in her closing submission to Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Nathan Whitling on Thursday.
The woman’s name is covered by a publication ban and the Advocate is not revealing the small detachment she was posted to at the time to further protect her identity.
The officer was only a year out of depot when the assault allegedly occurred. She did not want to “rock the boat” and felt if she reported the incident it would follow her throughout her career, said Papadatou.
Papadatou said the woman’s testimony that Tress kissed or licked her breast as she lay in bed after drinking heavily at a transfer party for another officer in her RCMP-owned duplex should be believed.
“She remembers vividly what Tress did to her,” Papadatou told. “She did not try to make herself look good when it might have assisted her. She told the truth.”
Inconsistencies in the recollections of other officers she told her story can be put down to the passage of time and the fact they were not the victim.
Tress, who testified that he did not touch his accuser after he and another woman helped her to bed at the party, is not credible, said the Crown.
“My submission is he never answered a straight question with a straight answer.”
Tress was transferred to Red Deer detachment in 2012. He served in the city for a number of years but is no longer an RCMP officer.
Defence lawyer Maurice Collard said it is his client’s accuser who should not be believed.
“She lied and she didn’t remember very specific things. That’s the issue,” said Collard.
The alleged victim told multiple versions of what happened on the night she admitted being very drunk and had to be helped to bed, he said.
One officer testified he told her that Tress peered down her shirt. Another testified that she told him he groped her under her shirt.
In 2014, she told an RCMP officer investigating Tress as part of a code of conduct probe that he had groped her but did not mention her breast being kissed or licked.
Collard dismissed the victim’s testimony that she was trying to minimize what happened.
“It wasn’t minimizing. It was lying about sexual assault,” he said.
Another officer testified on Thursday that he had visited the woman in the early hours of the morning after the party. But his client’s accuser does not remember that, said Collard.
“That is fatal to her credibility.”
Her accusation about Tress’s breast licking or kissing only came after Alberta Serious Incident Response Team investigators contacted her in 2016 and told her they were looking into other allegations against Tress, he said.