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

Man who sexually assaulted teen in Abbotsford is declared dangerous offender

Anton Foulds has more than 30 convictions, dating back to 1991

Questions and clarity on SOGI 123 in Abbotsford

Candidates raise concerns, but advocate says opposition to SOGI 123 ‘uneducated’

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of Monica Jack

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

Abbotsford scientist says more oversight needed after last-minute report stops soil permit

City staff recommended permit approval before a scientist warned proposal would harm fish

ABBY ELECTION HUB: Everything you need to know in one spot

Interviews, Q&As, info on how to vote, stories on the issues and candidate bios all in one place.

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Abbotsford teacher heads up science teaching conference

Kelowna event exposes new instructional classroom tools for science teachers

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

B.C. jury finds man guilty of Japanese exchange student’s murder

Natsumi Kogawa was found at empty heritage mansion shortly after she was reported missing in 2016

B.C. man accused of killing Belgian tourist along Highway 1 appears in court

Sean McKenzie, 27, made second court appearance since his arrest in connection with the murder of Amelie Sakkalis

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

Most Read