VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The RCMP has reached an out-of-court settlement with a former Constable who claims she was forced to have sex with her supervisor more than ten years ago.
Susan Gastaldo reported Staff Sergeant Travis Pearson in May of 2009 after they were caught having sex in a squad car when they worked together as part of a Lower Mainland surveillance team.
Since then, she’s faced disciplinary action and she was medically discharged from the RCMP in January of 2018.
Sgt. Peason is still a member of the RCMP.
Lawyer Walter Kosteckyj says details of the agreement — including how much money’s been awarded– must remain confidential, but his client is relieved she and her family can now move on.
“Unfortunately, I can’t go into any details. There is a confidentiality associated with that settlement. She feels that, at the end of the day, it’s settled fairly. She still continues with therapy. She’s doing much better than she did before. Although she probably may not return to regular employment, this is a positive step for her and her family.”
Gastaldo took part in a 2017 review which recommended changes for how the RCMP treats women.
Kosteckyj says her long battle with her former employer has exposed systemic problems and she’s helped other women, both civilians and officers still with the force, come forward in recent years.
“She was actually the first person to come forward and file an claim, but you know, it took a lot of courage for her to come forward and it was a daunting task. Now, one of the things that’s occurred as a consequence of her and others coming forward is that there has been change within the RCMP.”
Kosteckyj tells NEWS1130 the RCMP has to adhere to higher standards because it is Canada’s national police force.
“I think the RCMP still has a long way to go. It’s a big organization and I think, sometimes, their messaging is not well carried out on all of the issues that relate to them. I think we all need them to be as good as they can possibly be and I’m very supportive of the members of the RCMP, as I think most people are, and we’re hopeful they’ll be the organization that we really want them to be.”
In July, the force settled some class-action lawsuits involving millions of dollars worth of payouts to other women who worked with the RCMP.