Red Deer Mountie charged with sexual assault

RCMP officer charged with sexual assault and breach of trust following investigation.

A Red Deer RCMP officer is facing sexual assault and breach of trust charges arising out of incidents involving three women in 2012 and 2016.

The charges were laid on Wednesday after the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed last July by the Director of Law Enforcement to investigate an allegation that an RCMP officer sexually assaulted a woman.

“As ASIRT was engaged in that investigation, we became aware of allegations in relation to two additional unrelated incidents and commenced investigations into those incidents and the circumstances that surrounded them,” said ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson on Thursday afternoon.

Two of the three incidents occurred while the officer was on duty.

Const. Jason Tress, 30, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of criminal breach of trust in connection with an incident involving a woman last year.

A second breach of trust was laid in connection with an unrelated incident involving a different alleged victim, also in 2016.

A second sexual assault charge was laid in connection with an unrelated incident involving a third woman in 2012.

Tress, an eight-year officer, was suspended with pay in August 2016 as a result of the initial allegations, said RCMP Chief Supt. George Stephenson on Thursday.

He will remain off duty until the internal processes and all criminal charges against him are resolved, says the RCMP.

Hughson said an investigation was launched after a woman came forward to say she had been sexually assaulted by an officer at the Red Deer RCMP detachment in 2016.

RCMP immediately passed the complaint on to the Director of Law Enforcement, which called in ASIRT.

“(The RCMP) are the ones who initially brought this all to light to start with,” said Hughson, who said police were “very co-operative.”

That allegation led to further investigation and the other charges.

Two of the alleged incidents occurred while the officer was posted in Red Deer. He was at a rural detachment when the alleged 2012 incident occurred.

Hughson would not provide any details of the allegations so as not to “inadvertently taint” possible witness testimony.

“We’re always mindful this situation might cause other woman or people to come forward. Again I don’t want to taint anything that somebody else may say if they were to come forward.”

Hughson said the charges were laid in consultation with the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service.

Tress has been released on an undertaking with conditions to appear in Red Deer provincial court on April 12.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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