Two Island Mounties accused of trying to fool paternity test

Two Island Mounties are under investigation for trying to circumvent a court-ordered paternity test, in an attempt by one officer to deny he was the father of a woman’s baby.

RCMP confirmed two officers, both seconded to the Regional Crime Unit, have been suspended with pay as Victoria police handle the criminal investigation.

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Sources tell the Times Colonist one of the Mounties was having an affair with a woman who became pregnant. When she told the Mountie she was carrying his baby, he denied it was his. The court ordered a DNA test to prove paternity. The officer got a fellow officer in the Regional Crime Unit to take the test for him.

“I can advise that we have one member from the Regional Crime Unit [RCU] and one member from West Shore Detachment, who is seconded to the RCU, currently suspended as a result of an allegation that they may have committed a criminal offence,” said Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, senior media officer for E Division RCMP.

“As with any suspension their badges, sidearms and police identification were seized.”

Vermeulen would not provide a phone interview but answered questions by email.

He said the RCMP referred the allegations to Victoria police to carry out the criminal investigation. Victoria police were tight-lipped about when the file was brought to them or what charges are being considered.

“We can confirm that VicPD is conducting an investigation regarding this matter. Out of respect for the integrity of that investigation, we cannot disclose additional details at this time,” Victoria police spokesman Bowen Osoko said.

The officers’ names were not released.

To complete a court-ordered DNA test, an individual has to go in person to an appointment at a lab and provide identification, according to Genetrack Biolabs, which does medical DNA testing. A private paternity test can be done with a kit at home and mailed to the lab.

Sources say police pulled video surveillance from the lab in question to examine which Mountie went in for the DNA test.

A family lawyer in Victoria said possible criminal charges could include breach of a court order, fraud or conspiracy to commit fraud.

West Shore detachment commander Insp. Larry Chomyn did not return calls for comment.

Vermeulen said the RCMP’s internal code of conduct investigations are protected under the Privacy Act. Formal discipline becomes public only if there is a disciplinary hearing.

The officers are suspended with pay but Vermeulen said “that will be re-evaluated as the investigation continues.”

Langford Mayor Stew Young had not heard of the misconduct allegations but said he’s confident the officers will be dealt with appropriately.

“The police are held at a high regard obviously so it makes it a bit more newsworthy and prominent when things kind of go wrong or bad decisions are made and they are scrutinized,” Young said. “It’s unfortunate that that would happen … but the RCMP have provided a good service to us and we support them 100 per cent.”

The allegations come the same week RCMP announced a Sidney/North Saanich RCMP officer is facing charges of possession and production of child pornography. The offences are alleged to have occurred in Colwood between Sept. 1 and Nov. 23, 2013.

The officer quit within 24 hours of his arrest on Dec. 19. His name has not been released because of a publication ban. kderosa@timescolonist.com

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