Ottawa cop guilty of discreditable conduct in jail strip search

Ottawa police officer Steve Desjourdy. (Sarah Taylor/QMI Agency file photo)

Ottawa police officer Steve Desjourdy. (Sarah Taylor/QMI Agency file photo)

Danielle Bell, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Ottawa police Sgt. Steve Desjourdy was found guilty Tuesday of an internal charge related to a high-profile 2008 cellblock strip search.

Matt Skof. head of the Ottawa Police Association took issue with the ruling, calling it "a very problematic decision" that has the potential of far-reaching implications for officers across Ontario.

"We are particularly concerned about the injustice resulting from the application of a previously non-existent, after-the-fact created standard that Sgt. Desjourdy is being held to, which we could not have known of at the time," said Skof. "Obviously this is not a good decision in our favour. Steve (Desjourdy) is handling it as best as he can. This whole case from the start has been a very difficult one for officers. I don't think it's a good decision on an overall level for the morale of the officers."

The decision comes one year after Desjourdy was acquitted of sexually assaulting a prisoner after he cut off a woman's shirt and bra during the same incident.

He was facing a charge of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.

The proceeding looked at the circumstances surrounding the woman being left topless, in soiled pants, in a cell for more than three hours.

"The one justification for leaving (the prisoner) in the cells partially naked for over three hours would have been if she was suicidal," said hearing officer Robert Fitches, who rejected Desjourdy's belief she was.

"It is entirely clear and I am completely convinced that the conduct on Sept. 6, 2008 was unreasonable and clearly discreditable."

The OPA is reviewing the decision as an appeal is considered.

Desjourdy, who was not suspended, currently works in central division, but the force will now be re-assessing his position based on this PSA decision.

The matter is next slated for a teleconference on April 28.


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