A Surrey Mountie has sued

A Surrey Mountie has sued

Surrey Mountie sues, alleges PTSD from exposure to child porn in sex offences unit

Const. Michael Wardrobe says his exposure to disturbing child porn content has left him with PTSD

An RCMP officer has filed a lawsuit alleging he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after being exposed to a “significant volume” of child pornography while working in a specialized unit.

Const. Michael Wardrope says he was exposed to disturbing videos, photographs, interviews and interrogations as a member of the child abuse and sexual offence unit in Surrey, B.C.

“His mental health was impacted by unescapable images and memories from the files he had worked on,” says the lawsuit filed in British Columbia Supreme Court.

Wardrope says in the court document he was “flattered” when he was recruited to the unit in 2009. But he says he told his bosses he had three young children, had to commute hours per day and didn’t think viewing child porn would be healthy.

He alleges his supervisor assured him that overtime was uncommon and that the amount of child pornography that needed to be viewed was “very minimal and almost non-existent,” as the work was, for the most part, interviewing children.

He says he was told that he was committed to as much as two and a half years in the unit.

Despite the assurances from his superiors, he says, within the first three months on the job he was required to work overtime and was exposed to child pornography. The unit was significantly understaffed, he alleges.

“The plaintiff’s supervisors were aware of his struggles with his health and the work load,” the lawsuit says.

“The plaintiff was aware of, or had witnessed personally on a number of occasions, members in the unit breaking down and crying while working on files.”

By fall 2010, the lawsuit says, Wardrope was showing symptoms of having a nervous breakdown. He approached his supervisor and broke down, crying and telling him he was “falling apart,” the suit says.

The supervisor promised to transfer him out of the unit but the transfer didn’t happen until 10 months later and Wardrope’s health was irreparably damaged, the suit alleges.

None of the allegations has been tested in court.

The lawsuit is filed against the Attorney General of Canada and the B.C. Justice Ministry, but the ministry said the RCMP was responsible for responding.

The RCMP said it could not comment on Saturday and would reserve its response for the court process.

Wardrope alleges his supervisors failed or neglected to respond to the serious concerns he reported to them about his mental health and the risk it posed to his safety.

He also alleges the conduct of his supervisors was “harassing, intimidating and/or an abuse of authority.”

As a result of the negligence, the lawsuit alleges, he has suffered extreme mental and physical ailments, including PTSD, suicidal thoughts, serious depression, severe anxiety disorder and chronic pain with severe cramping and spasms.

He is seeking general damages, special damages, past and future loss of income, diminished loss of earning capacity and various other damages.

Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road. (RCMP photo)
RCMP asking for help to find missing Chilliwack woman

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road

Chilliwack Chiefs
Chilliwack Chiefs acquire forward Ben Woodhouse from Wellington Dukes

The BCHL club swapped future considerations to the Dukes for the 20-year-old forward

Chilliwack is still one of B.C.’s COVID hot-spots, according to the latest weekly numbers from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Chilliwack records 140 COVID cases over seven-day period

Chilliwack’s case count per 100,000 people is among the highest in the province

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

Light boxes installed recently near Five Corners, seen here on Jan. 18, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Mystery of the large light boxes in downtown Chilliwack revealed

Some suggested ‘warming stations’ for the homeless; others guessed ‘public art’ installations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read