|Convicted serial killer Robert William Pickton. (File Photo)
VANCOUVER — The executive director of the public inquiry into the case of serial killer Robert Pickton has gone on leave after the commission was rocked earlier this week by allegations of sexual harassment within its own ranks.
The National Post, which broke the story about the harassment allegations, reported that John Boddie is on paid leave.
His name has been removed from the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry's website.
Five former commission staffers told the National Post they were subject to sexism and intimidation.
One of the former employees recalled a comment another male staffer allegedly made to a female employee, "You should spend less time working behind your desk, and a lot more time working on your ass," the Post reported.
Commissioner Wally Oppal said he was shocked to hear of the allegations.
"I am outraged by these anonymous allegations and I take them very seriously," Oppal said Wednesday. "Not once has anyone come to me with a complaint about the kind of behaviour that is outlined in this article."
Oppal said he hired investigator Delayne Sartison to independently probe the allegations.
In a statement released Thursday, Oppal said the commission had hired a second lawyer, Peter Gall, an expert in administrative law, to provide advice, including on how to proceed with the investigation.
The province appointed the commission last year to look into the investigations of missing and murdered women — many of them aboriginal — from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside between 1997 and 2002.
Pickton was convicted in 2007 of killing six women and another 20 murder charges against him were stayed.
— With files from Erica Bulman