Historical sexual assault allegations against RCMP officers and Manitoba Hydro employees and contractors in the Gillam area during construction of hydroelectric dams are being investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Independent Investigations Unit (IIU) of Manitoba.
Criminal allegations involving RCMP officers in the Gillam area will be investigated by the IIU, the police watchdog agency that investigates serious incidents involving on- and off-duty police in Manitoba.
The allegations came to light when the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission published a report on the Regional Cumulative Effects Assessment conducted by Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro for the Nelson, Burntwood, and Churchill river system. The commission heard allegations of sexual assault dating back to the 1960s from members of Fox Lake Cree Nation during public hearings as part of the assessment process.
“Although these incidents are not subject to mandatory investigations under the Police Services Act, the civilian director has deemed it to be in the public interest for the IIU to investigate.,” said an IIU news release. “In accordance with its mandate, the IIU investigation will focus on the actions of RCMP officers. Witnesses or other individuals who have information that may assist this investigation are asked to contact the IIU toll free at 1-844-667-6060.”
RCMP said they will continue to investigate all ongoing and new investigations of sexual assault and other criminal matters in Gillam and the surrounding area.
Historical criminal allegations against Manitoba Hydro employees or contractors will be investigate by the OPP.
“This was required as there were criminal allegations where both Manitoba Hydro employees and RCMP members may have been present,” said a Manitoba RCMP news release. “Determining the scope of the investigation will be the responsibility of the respective investigative agencies. Any new reports made to the RCMP that may fall within the mandate of either the IIU and OPP investigations will be referred as required.”