High-profile British Columbia RCMP officer charged with sexual assault

A high-profile former RCMP officer once in charge of strategic communications in British Columbia has been charged with sexual assault.

VANCOUVER — A high-profile former RCMP officer once in charge of strategic communications in British Columbia has been charged with sexual assault.

The province’s Criminal Justice Branch said Tuesday that a charge has been sworn against former inspector Tim Shields stemming from an investigation into sexual misconduct.

The misconduct is alleged to have occurred between 2009 and 2010 at RCMP headquarters and involved a civilian employee who worked in co-ordination with the communications unit headed by Shields.

Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, head of the RCMP in British Columbia, said the Mounties became aware of the allegations against Shields in 2013, but there was insufficient evidence at the time to proceed actively with the investigation.

He said new information became available in 2014 and an investigation team was formed. Information from that investigation was reported to Crown and resulted in the charge sworn Tuesday, Callens said in a statement.

“Charges of this nature against a police officer are disturbing and are even more so that it is alleged to have occurred in our headquarters.”

“The RCMP pursued this investigation as it would any serious criminal matter, regardless that the suspect was a senior police officer,” he said.

The allegation against Shields has not been tested in court.

Shields was suspended with pay in May last year and submitted his discharge documents in December, said Callens.

Mounties said at the time his suspension was due to a code-of-conduct investigation.

Shields appeared in Vancouver provincial court on Tuesday and is scheduled to return on June 27.

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