A well-respected, veteran city police sergeant faces an assault charge after seemingly harmless fun among friends and fans at a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game turned sour.
Sgt. Kenneth Molloy, 47, was arrested following a months-long internal investigation that got underway last September, the Winnipeg Police Service said Wednesday.
In addition to allegations he assaulted a 26-year-old woman on Aug. 16, 2013, he's also suspected of obstructing justice.
The 24-year police veteran is presumed innocent and his charges have not been formally laid pending a July court appearance. News of his arrest comes just weeks after the woman Molloy is now suspected of assaulting was cleared, along with her older brother, of charges they assaulted him during a Bombers game at Investors Group Field.
The incident occurred at the end of the team's losing match against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, said city defence lawyer Mike Cook, who represented both siblings.
They were among a group of friends playing a harmless game of playfully side-kicking each other in their buttocks. They called it "the bloop game," said Cook. Other fans around them joined in the fun until Molloy got "blooped," said Cook. He became upset and grabbed the young woman, Cook alleged.
Her brother, 30, tried to intervene, not knowing Molloy was a police officer, Cook said.
Both were charged with assaulting him and barred from attending sporting matches at IGF until their cases were concluded.
That happened May 2 when Manitoba Crown attorney Laura Hodgson stayed their charges. The siblings each did community-service work and wrote apology letters, Cook said.
They come from upstanding backgrounds and are university-educated people, said Cook. They never had any ill-intent and never thought they'd wind up arrested, he added.
"These are outstanding young kids," Cook said. "They were truly traumatized by what happened."
The investigation into Molloy's conduct started after their mother complained to the professional standards unit, Cook believes.
While the WPS acknowledged the case and charges against Molloy in a statement, it declined to answer a reporter's questions or comment further.
The obstruction-of-justice accusation relates to Molloy's suspected viewing of a photo of the female assault suspect a few weeks after the incident but prior to being shown an official package of mug shots by investigators.
Investigators show so-called "photo packs" containing images of different people to victims and witnesses to help confirm the identities of suspects.
Molloy is a well-respected fraud investigator with more than a decade of experience in that role, according to an online brief of his background from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).
In addition to his many years working commercial crime, Molloy's also worked general patrol, Internet-based investigations and as a trainer for the WPS and several other police agencies.In 2007, Molloy was inducted as a member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, the IIA noted.
His appearance notice shows he was not released on any conditions other than to appear in court on July 28.