A Surrey Mountie has sued

Surrey Mountie sues, alleges PTSD from exposure to child porn in sex offences unit

Const. Michael Wardrobe says his exposure to disturbing child porn content has left him with PTSD

An RCMP officer has filed a lawsuit alleging he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after being exposed to a “significant volume” of child pornography while working in a specialized unit.

Const. Michael Wardrope says he was exposed to disturbing videos, photographs, interviews and interrogations as a member of the child abuse and sexual offence unit in Surrey, B.C.

“His mental health was impacted by unescapable images and memories from the files he had worked on,” says the lawsuit filed in British Columbia Supreme Court.

Wardrope says in the court document he was “flattered” when he was recruited to the unit in 2009. But he says he told his bosses he had three young children, had to commute hours per day and didn’t think viewing child porn would be healthy.

He alleges his supervisor assured him that overtime was uncommon and that the amount of child pornography that needed to be viewed was “very minimal and almost non-existent,” as the work was, for the most part, interviewing children.

He says he was told that he was committed to as much as two and a half years in the unit.

Despite the assurances from his superiors, he says, within the first three months on the job he was required to work overtime and was exposed to child pornography. The unit was significantly understaffed, he alleges.

“The plaintiff’s supervisors were aware of his struggles with his health and the work load,” the lawsuit says.

“The plaintiff was aware of, or had witnessed personally on a number of occasions, members in the unit breaking down and crying while working on files.”

By fall 2010, the lawsuit says, Wardrope was showing symptoms of having a nervous breakdown. He approached his supervisor and broke down, crying and telling him he was “falling apart,” the suit says.

The supervisor promised to transfer him out of the unit but the transfer didn’t happen until 10 months later and Wardrope’s health was irreparably damaged, the suit alleges.

None of the allegations has been tested in court.

The lawsuit is filed against the Attorney General of Canada and the B.C. Justice Ministry, but the ministry said the RCMP was responsible for responding.

The RCMP said it could not comment on Saturday and would reserve its response for the court process.

Wardrope alleges his supervisors failed or neglected to respond to the serious concerns he reported to them about his mental health and the risk it posed to his safety.

He also alleges the conduct of his supervisors was “harassing, intimidating and/or an abuse of authority.”

As a result of the negligence, the lawsuit alleges, he has suffered extreme mental and physical ailments, including PTSD, suicidal thoughts, serious depression, severe anxiety disorder and chronic pain with severe cramping and spasms.

He is seeking general damages, special damages, past and future loss of income, diminished loss of earning capacity and various other damages.

Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

If it snows, move your car

Streets in Mission that have cars parked on them, won’t get plowed this winter

Three days in the ER, not uncommon in Abbotsford: report

One in 10 admitted patients spends more than 69 hours in emergency

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Man accused of shooting at border agents loses final bid to appeal extradition order

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford following cross-border manhunt in 2013

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Woman, 75, killed in Vancouver pedestrian crash

The death marks Vancouver’s fifth pedestrian fatality of 2017

B.C. government to launch coastal ferry review in January

The Province will begin a comprehensive review of the coastal ferry service in British Columbia in 2018

5 to start your day

A rhyming MP getting into the Christmas spirit on the hill, Langley boy chased by two men and more

Federal Crown drops appeal after charges against pot activist dismissed

Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Kensington Palace announced the date to the public Friday

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Most Read