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Saskatchewan Mountie suspended for what force calls inappropriate behaviour

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REGINA - The commander of a northern Saskatchewan RCMP detachment has been removed from his post while the force investigates what it describes as inappropriate workplace behaviour.

Sgt. Craig Cleary says the staff sergeant in Meadow Lake was suspended with pay June 10.

"I can't speak to the specific allegations themselves," Cleary said Thursday.

"However, we're dealing with inappropriate workplace behaviour and the reason we can't get into the specific details of the allegations themselves is to protect the integrity of the investigation, as well as any of those people that are involved."

Allegations came to light June 3 that prompted an internal code of conduct investigation, he said.

Cleary also says he can't name the commander at the centre of the case unless the investigation leads to a formal disciplinary hearing. However, Cleary confirms it is the same Mountie who faced allegations in 2009.

Cpl. Tim Korman was accused of sexually harassing a female subordinate, but an RCMP review panel said in March 2009 it had no choice but to reject the complaint because the case took too long to be heard. A top Mountie in Saskatchewan also missed by one month the deadline to file the necessary paperwork needed to deal with the complaint.

Laura Lehne alleged that Korman made offensive and sexually explicit comments about her, then punished her after she filed her complaint by denying her backup in the field, taking her off training courses and changing her shift assignments when the two served in Buffalo Narrows, Sask., in 2004.

The allegations against Korman were not proven in court or in internal RCMP proceedings.

Chief superintendent Garry Jay said in 2009 that while the panel didn't get to hear details of the allegations, there was merit to the case.

Cleary would only say that the allegations were dismissed.

"We acknowledged those issues at the time and those acknowledgments are a matter of public record, so  if you want to go back and revisit those, you're certainly more than welcome to," he told reporters.

"We acknowledge that we've learned from the issues that came to light as a result of that investigation."

He says the code of conduct investigation was started quickly and will be diligently done.

The comments rang hollow for Lehne, who spoke to reporters Thursday outside Saskatchewan RCMP headquarters in Regina. She said the issues haven't been addressed "or we wouldn't be here again."

"I'm just happy that there's other members that are strong enough to come forward," she said.

"They promoted him the day our hearing was tossed and it doesn't surprise me that we're here again. I thought it would be a lot sooner than five years, but you know nothing surprises me and hopefully they deal with it this time."

Lehne signed an agreement for an undisclosed sum that saw her drop legal action against the RCMP. She also quit the force.

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