January 27, 2020

-9° C, Light snow

Full Forecast


Advertise With Us

Probe into accusations of touching unlikely: police

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/2/2018 (716 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG police aren’t likely to open an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment against former finance minister Stan Struthers unless one is requested.

"If we were asked to start (an investigation), we would. We wouldn’t do it based on media reports," spokesman Const. Rob Carver said Friday.

But Carver said offences may have occurred, judging from the complaints reported in the media this week.

"I can tell you that if you touch someone and it is unwanted and unasked for, it’s basic assault under the Criminal Code," he said.

And the alleged victims would not necessarily have to make the request to police, he said, adding that could come from someone close to the women, a political party or the government.

"So we could look at it without a victim, but we can’t lay charges without a victim," he said.

Carver was not aware of any complaints to police from of any of the women who’ve accused Struthers of improper touching.

Seven women have come forward and complained publicly about the former NDP cabinet minister who represented the Dauphin-Roblin riding from 1995 to 2016. Struthers was reportedly referred to as Minister Tickles by some female government staff and bureaucrats.

Shannon VanRaes, a former government communications staff member, alleges that in two separate incidents, Struthers reached under her skirt attempting to grope her and grabbed her foot, moving it toward his crotch.

She told the Free Press Friday she hasn’t decided whether she’ll take the matter to police.

"I wouldn’t say it is ruled out," she said.

Carver said the situation is different than the one involving disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, in which New York City police launched an investigation based on media reports of his alleged history of sex crimes.

"Different country, different place," Carver said.

"I know it’s very difficult for us with the parameters we have to assign investigators to look into something where no one has complained."

Cases of unwanted sexual touching would have to be linked with something else, such as a missing persons report or homicide, for police to investigate without complainant, he said.

Sexual assault is unwanted physical contact "where there are primary overtures that are sexual in nature," he said.



Advertise With Us


Updated on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 7:50 AM CST: Edited

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us