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Mountie faces sexual assault charge

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An RCMP constable has been charged with sexual assault in relation to an alleged incident two years ago.

Police received a complaint April 11 from a woman about an alleged incident involving an on-duty police constable from April 2010 in Baker Lake, said RCMP Chief Supt.

Steve McVarnock. The RCMP G division major crime unit in Yellowknife did an initial investigation and, based on the information received, the Ottawa Police Service then performed a criminal investigation, said McVarnock.

The investigation led to the April 28 arrest of 31-year-old Const. Justin Dickens, who was charged with sexual assault. He has since been released and is scheduled to make his first court appearance on July 24 in Baker Lake.

McVarnock said Dickens is suspended with pay and on administrative leave until further notice.

Dickens has four years of RCMP service - two in Baker Lake and then Whale Cove, until his arrest. A relief police officer has been sent to Whale Cove.

"This is something we took very, very seriously when learning about it," said McVarnock. "We wanted to have some initial resolution to the investigation in order to know what we have, what we're dealing with and more importantly, how we're going to deal with it down the road."

He added he is fully aware of the high expectation Canadians have for the RCMP, both on and off duty.

"This situation, the allegation, the arrest of one of our own members is very distressing to each and every one of us, especially up here in Nunavut," said McVarnock. "It certainly provides sort of a black eye when we factor in so many of the great things our people are doing day in and day out throughout the territory."

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