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Victoria police officer suspended for off-duty sexual encounter

The suspension follows a public hearing of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in May where adjudicator Wally Oppal determined the sexual encounter was non-consensual
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Sgt. Brent Keleher has been with the Victoria Police Department for 19 years and was recently appointed head of the financial-crimes unit.

A Victoria police officer found to have committed discreditable conduct in relation to an off-duty sexual encounter in Vancouver in 2018 has been suspended without pay for 30 days.

The suspension of Sgt. Brent Keleher followed a public hearing of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in May.

Former judge Wally Oppal, who adjudicated the hearing, imposed the maximum suspension allowed.

Oppal previously found Keleher did not have “an honest but mistaken belief” that the complainant involved, a married 35-year-old nurse who lives in Victoria, consented to the encounter.

The encounter took place in Vancouver, where the woman was on a getaway weekend with a friend and where Keleher was attending a bachelor party. She and her friend knew Keleher and his group, and the friend arranged for all of them to meet at a bar.

That led to several stops at establishments where considerable alcohol was consumed.

They ended up at Keleher’s hotel room, where sexual acts took place, said the decision given by Oppal on Oct. 5. The report said the complainant, who has very intoxicated, said she did not consent to the acts but Keleher said she did.

“Based on her intoxication, I found that [she] did not have the capacity to consent to any of the sexual activities and did not in fact consent,” Oppal wrote.

He wrote that Keleher was “reckless” in concluding that the woman had consented.

Although the misconduct was serious, there is no evidence of the likelihood of more in the future, the decision said. “This is not a case that calls for dismissal.”

Keleher applied to have his name redacted from the proceedings but that request was denied in August.

Keleher, 42 and the father of two small boys, has been with the Victoria Police Department for 19 years and was recently appointed head of the financial-crimes unit.

Police Chief Del Manak said Keleher is a good investigator and has expressed remorse for the situation.

No date has been set for the suspension to begin.

jbell@timescolonist.com

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