A trial began Monday for a Red Deer RCMP officer charged with sexual assault with a weapon and breach of trust in connection with a 2016 domestic disturbance call.
Const. Jason Tress is accused of sexually assaulting a woman when he and three other police officers responded to a domestic disturbance early May 1, 2016, at a Red Deer apartment near 46th Avenue and 52nd Street.
The alleged assault took place when Tress was alone in a bedroom interviewing one of the two women who were in an apartment when a heavily intoxicated man turned violent. At one point, the man was using a knife to cut himself.
A rookie constable being trained by Tress testified she was interviewing one woman about the domestic incident in the living room, and Tress took a second woman into a bedroom to talk to her.
The door was almost closed, said Const. Jacqueline Beebor, who had arrived in Red Deer for her first posting in March 2016.
“I didn’t hear or see anything,” she testified in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench before Justice David Gates.
Crown prosecutor Photini Papadatou asked Beebor if she was concerned at all by that situation.
“Yes,” said Beebor, adding she had been trained to not allow a partner out of her sight at a possible crime scene.
Besides being a safety issue, officers are also taught to not put themselves in the position where a person can allege something without any other witnesses present, she said.
Beebor said it only took a few minutes to talk to her witness, who would say little because her boyfriend was the source of the trouble.
She then had to wait a few minutes before Tress came out of the bedroom with the other woman. Beebor noticed the woman was not wearing a blazer she had on over her shirt when she went into the room.
She asked Tress what took so long. He said he was trying to see if the woman would provide a statement.
Before leaving the scene, there was another time Tress was out of her sight with the woman, although Beebor could not recall if she was in the apartment, and Tress and the woman were outside, or vice versa.
On cross-examination by defence lawyer Robb Beeman, Beebor agreed she testified at the preliminary hearing the woman with Tress came out of the room happy and giggling.
Beeman also pointed out at the preliminary hearing she testified the woman was dressed “kind of slutty or sleazy.
“I probably said that, yes,” she answered.
The man at the centre of the disturbance was not charged, and he was later released.
Beebor was not sure why there were no charges and asked another officer, Const. Christopher Valade, about it. He took the issue up with a corporal.
The following evening, Tress was angry she went to someone else to talk about an incident. It’s known as “cop shopping,” Beebor testified.
Tress and Valade got into a heated argument in front of Beebor the following evening in a room at the detachment.
Beebor admitted she was emotional at the time. “I eventually was just so upset because they just kept arguing,” she said, adding she had to walk away.
Valade testified Beebor came to him because she was uncomfortable with what had happened at the disturbance. She told him she thought being left by Tress waiting in the hall was “kind of weird” and asked about common procedures and practise.
Valade took her concerns to a corporal because he felt she would be a better mediator.
Tress was not happy a supervisor was involved. “He was a little angry, a little upset, I recall.”
Beebor, Valade and Tress later got together for a few drinks and buried the hatchet.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team announced in March 2017 Tress was being charged with breach of trust in connection with the incident. The sexual assault charge came after a preliminary hearing in October 2018.