A BC trooper who was fired after showing a domestic violence victim what he described as a barely clothed “penis picture” was rehired last year after arguing he was treated unfairly by the RCMP’s conduct board.
Const. Andrew Hedderson was fired in December 2018 after the board found that his behavior constituted sexual misconduct and that keeping him employed by the RCMP “would clearly jeopardize public confidence” in the national police force.
But Hedderson appealed the decision, arguing in part that he should have been allowed an in-person hearing where the woman who reported him could be questioned. Adjudicator Steven Dunn agreed and ordered the agent reinstated and payment returned.
“I believe the board violated principles of procedural fairness,” Dunn wrote in his September 2021 appeal decisionwhich was recently published online.
“As a result, the board’s decision should be overturned.”
Dunn also ordered a new hearing so the allegations against Hedderson could be properly proven, but the officer resigned last month before the hearing could take place.
The allegations stem from Hedderson’s time with the Surrey RCMP detachment in the spring of 2017, when a woman, identified only as Mrs W in board documents, reported being assaulted by her boyfriend in a car park. Safeway.
The board heard that Hedderson visited Ms. W’s home and, as they sat on her bed, asked her if she had any photographs of her injuries.
Ms W told investigators she accidentally submitted an image showing her breasts, and the officer responded by taking two separate images of her exposed penis, including one in which she was wearing her RCMP uniform.
“Mrs. W said she was embarrassed, and the (officer) said not to worry about it, but now she felt like she had to show him something in return.” the 2018 board decision read
“Ms. W reported that the (officer) was ‘flirting’ with her…and was ‘shocked’ by his presentation of the photographs.”
Hedderson denied showing the woman nude pictures, but told investigators he showed her a photo of himself in “very tight boxers” that showed “a lot of everything.”
“If it weren’t for the fabric, it’s essentially a picture of a penis,” he said, according to the documents.
He also admitted to sending Ms. W sexual messages after that incident. The conduct board heard that there were 323 text messages exchanged between Hedderson and Ms W over an 11-day period, and that the officer “initiated inappropriate sexual comments” that included asking her if she liked the picture she showed him, commenting on your account. quite a large package”, and told her that he could return to her house for a “very complete and in-depth check”.
The 2018 conduct board decision described Ms. W as a vulnerable person, noting that she was recovering from drug addiction at the time of her interactions with Hedderson, lived in poverty, and was afraid of the police. . Hedderson denied that characterization on her appeal.
The sheriff was reinstated in the fall of 2021, then placed on paid suspension pending the outcome of his rehearing, BC RCMP spokesman Cpl. Alex Bérubé told CTV News in an email. The spokesman could not confirm whether Hedderson received retroactive payments following his appeal, citing “privacy restrictions.”
It’s unclear if the RCMP has any other recourse now that Hedderson is no longer an employee. BC RCMP directed questions about the matter to the force’s national headquarters, which said it is working on a response. This story will be updated if a statement is received.
CTV News has been unable to reach Hedderson for comment on his case, and requests to be contacted by the Justice Department attorney who represented him in his conduct case have not been returned.