“Cop photographed half-naked prisoner” & related articles

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Cornwall Standard Freeholder

Joe Lafaro, Postmedia Network

After the OPP started secretly monitoring the phone calls and text messages of one of their own officers, they found out Const. Luanne MacDonald had sent a photo to her boyfriend of a half-naked, intoxicated woman detained in a police cell block.

Her boyfriend also happened to be an OPP constable.

And that’s not all the OPP discovered about MacDonald, who worked at the Alexandria satellite office of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry detachment.

In March 2014, MacDonald got a call from a mother who reported her drunken boyfriend had sexually assaulted her 14-year-old daughter. MacDonald not only discouraged the concerned parent from filing a complaint, but she also tried to cover her tracks and lied about what she knew of the assault to an investigator.

The details of MacDonald’s on- and off-duty behaviour are revealed in an agreed statement of facts filed with the Ottawa courthouse after she pleaded guilty last week to obstruction of justice relating to her handling of the reported sexual assault.

Her trial was transferred from Alexandria to Ottawa at the request of her defence lawyer.

Unbeknownst to MacDonald, 46, the OPP were secretly monitoring her phone calls and text messages in 2014 under a court order.

In an email to the Citizen on Thursday, an OPP spokeswoman declined to provide a reason for what had prompted the police force to monitor one of its own in the first place.

“This question pertains to a matter of evidence and I won’t be speaking to that,” said Acting Sgt. Angie Atkinson.

She also said she could not comment about whether MacDonald was the subject of an investigation prior to March 2014.

The document filed with the court contains excerpts of the incriminating calls and messages, but it does not explain why her private communications were being intercepted or for how long.

Her Ottawa-based lawyer, Michael Edelson, declined to comment on the case.

Her trial had been scheduled for Jan. 16 to Feb. 17 and Feb. 27 to March 3. But on the first day of the trial, MacDonald entered a plea of guilty to one count of obstruction.

The probe into the officer also resulted in seven other charges being laid on July 23, 2014, including breach of trust by a public officer, theft of telecommunication, fraud, voyeurism, and distribution of voyeurism material stemming from unrelated incidents. Although she has not entered a plea on any of these other charges, she has admitted certain facts of the case in the agreed statement of facts filed in court.

The document reveals the constable suggested the mother not file a police report and that she made sure the reported sexual assault stayed a secret.

MacDonald agreed with the mother that reporting the sexual assault would tear the family apart and “destroy a business.”

“CAS (Children’s Aid Society) is going to be in our face,” MacDonald told the mother during one of their phone calls, adding that if charges are laid, “(the boyfriend) won’t be able to be around your kids, like any of them.”

MacDonald told her not to tell anyone about their discussion despite acknowledging in a text message that she had a duty as a police officer to investigate when she said, “I’m sort of obligated to bring that kind of s—t forward.”

In a phone call that was secretly recorded by the police, MacDonald told one of her friends that the boyfriend fondled the teen’s breasts and removed her pyjamas.

She told that same friend that she was “taking this to the f——-g grave” and “I’m not saying a f——-g word,” before telling the friend to delete their text messages about the incident. She recommended the teenaged girl and her accused abuser see a counsellor.

MacDonald also shared details of the mother’s allegations with her boyfriend, Const. John Bernard, who works in the same OPP detachment, according to the agreed statement of facts.

In one wiretapped conversation, the pair agreed they would have filed a police report if it had been their own child who had been sexually assaulted.

Bernard, 43, said in an interview with the OPP after his arrest that MacDonald told him that the boyfriend had put his hands in the 14-year-old’s underwear.

“In her conversations with Bernard about the incident and her failure to report they discussed how they would make efforts to protect her from her failure to report,” according to the court document.

Bernard was later charged in July 2014 with two counts of breach of trust by a public officer. He did not enter a plea on either of the charges last week and is scheduled to return to court on March 3.

Both officers remain suspended with pay, according to the OPP.

When confronted later by another OPP officer tasked with investigating the sexual assault, MacDonald lied about what she knew of the complaint.

Through the investigation, the 14-year-old girl gave investigators a different story about what had happened than what she told MacDonald. In the end, no charges were laid in the teen’s case.

Another admitted fact in the court records reveals that while MacDonald was on duty on April 9, 2014, she photographed a surveillance screen in the police station showing a partially clothed woman detained in the cell block.

Police intercepted messages she sent from her BlackBerry to Bernard that included the photo of the woman who was not wearing pants. In the photo, the woman had been sitting on a bench with her knees up to her chest and arms around her legs with her head down, exposing her upper left thigh and left buttock.

MacDonald also sent “inappropriate comments” in another text message to her sister about the female inmate, according to the agreed statement of facts. She was subsequently charged with the two voyeurism charges.

MacDonald also breached an order from her supervisor, an inspector, by contacting an unidentified individual believed to be “deceitful and treacherous in dealing with the police” by exchanging more than 600 phone calls and text messages with the person between 2011 and 2014, according to the agreed statement of facts.

In her email to the Citizen, Atkinson said the OPP will open an internal professional standards section investigation into MacDonald and Bernard after their criminal matters are resolved.

She is scheduled to return to the Ottawa courthouse on March 3 for a sentencing hearing.

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OPP secretly monitored officer — discovered she sent photo to her boyfriend of half-naked female prisoner

Ottawa Citizen

Published on: January 26, 2017 | Last Updated: January 26, 2017 5:36 PM EST

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After the OPP started secretly monitoring the phone calls and text messages of one of their own officers, they found out Const. Luanne MacDonald had sent a photo to her boyfriend of a half-naked, intoxicated woman detained in a police cell block.

Her boyfriend also happened to be an OPP constable.

And that’s not all the OPP discovered about MacDonald, who worked at the Alexandria satellite office of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry detachment.

In March 2014, MacDonald got a call from a mother who reported her drunken boyfriend had sexually assaulted her 14-year-old daughter. MacDonald not only discouraged the concerned parent from filing a complaint, but she also tried to cover her tracks and lied about what she knew of the assault to an investigator.

The details of MacDonald’s on- and off-duty behaviour are revealed in an agreed statement of facts filed with the Ottawa courthouse after she pleaded guilty last week to obstruction of justice relating to her handling of the reported sexual assault.

Her trial was transferred from Alexandria to Ottawa at the request of her defence lawyer.

Unbeknownst to MacDonald, 46, the OPP were secretly monitoring her phone calls and text messages in 2014 under a court order.

In an email to the Citizen on Thursday, an OPP spokeswoman declined to provide a reason for what had prompted the police force to monitor one of its own in the first place.

“This question pertains to a matter of evidence and I won’t be speaking to that,” said Acting Sgt. Angie Atkinson.

She also said she could not comment about whether MacDonald was the subject of an investigation prior to March 2014.

The document filed with the court contains excerpts of the incriminating calls and messages, but it does not explain why her private communications were being intercepted or for how long.

Her Ottawa-based lawyer, Michael Edelson, declined to comment on the case.

Her trial had been scheduled for Jan. 16 to Feb. 17 and Feb. 27 to March 3. But on the first day of the trial, MacDonald entered a plea of guilt to one count of obstruction.

The probe into the officer also resulted in seven other charges being laid on July 23, 2014, including breach of trust by a public officer, theft of telecommunication, fraud, voyeurism, and distribution of voyeurism material stemming from unrelated incidents. Although she has not entered a plea on any of these other charges, she has admitted certain facts of the case in the agreed statement of facts filed in court.

The document reveals the constable suggested the mother not file a police report and that she made sure the reported sexual assault stayed a secret.

MacDonald agreed with the mother that reporting the sexual assault would tear the family apart and “destroy a business.”

“CAS (Children’s Aid Society) is going to be in our face,” MacDonald told the mother during one of their phone calls, adding that if charges are laid, “(the boyfriend) won’t be able to be around your kids, like any of them.”

MacDonald told her not to tell anyone about their discussion despite acknowledging in a text message that she had a duty as a police officer to investigate when she said, “I’m sort of obligated to bring that kind of s–t forward.”

In a phone call that was secretly recorded by the police, MacDonald told one of her friends that the boyfriend fondled the teen’s breasts and removed her pyjamas.

She told that same friend that she was “taking this to the f—–g grave” and “I’m not saying a f—–g word,” before telling the friend to delete their text messages about the incident. She recommended the teenaged girl and her accused abuser see a counsellor.

MacDonald also shared details of the mother’s allegations with her boyfriend, Const. John Bernard, who works in the same OPP detachment, according to the agreed statement of facts.

In one wiretapped conversation, the pair agreed they would have filed a police report if it had been their own child who had been sexually assaulted.

Bernard, 43, said in an interview with the OPP after his arrest that MacDonald told him that the boyfriend had put his hands in the 14-year-old’s underwear.

“In her conversations with Bernard about the incident and her failure to report they discussed how they would make efforts to protect her from her failure to report,” according to the court document.

Bernard was later charged in July 2014 with two counts of breach of trust by a public officer. He did not enter a plea on either of the charges last week and is scheduled to return to court on March 3.

Both officers remain suspended with pay, according to the OPP.

When confronted later by another OPP officer tasked with investigating the sexual assault, MacDonald lied about what she knew of the complaint.

Through the investigation, the 14-year-old girl gave investigators a different story about what had happened than what she told MacDonald. In the end, no charges were laid in the teen’s case.

Another admitted fact in the court records reveal that while MacDonald was on duty on April 9, 2014, she photographed a surveillance screen in the police station showing a partially clothed woman detained in the cell block.

Police intercepted messages she sent from her BlackBerry to Bernard that included the photo of the woman who was not wearing pants. In the photo, the woman had been sitting on a bench with her knees up to her chest and arms around her legs with her head down, exposing her upper left thigh and left buttock.

MacDonald also sent “inappropriate comments” in another text message to her sister about the female inmate, according to the agreed statement of facts. She was subsequently charged with the two voyeurism charges.

MacDonald also breached an order from her supervisor, an inspector, by contacting an unidentified individual believed to be “deceitful and treacherous in dealing with the police” by exchanging more than 600 phone calls and text messages with the person between 2011 and 2014, according to the agreed statement of facts.

In her email to the Citizen, Atkinson said the OPP will open an internal professional standards section investigation into MacDonald and Bernard after their criminal matters are resolved.

She is scheduled to return to the Ottawa courthouse on March 3 for a sentencing hearing.

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Trial venue change for OPP officers in Alexandria?

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 11:55:49 EDT AM

By Greg Peerenboom, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

 ALEXANDRIA – Trial dates for two SDG OPP officers facing voyeurism and breach of trust charges could be confirmed next month.

The intention of the Crown attorney’s office is to hold joint trials for Consts. Luanne MacDonald and John Bernard in Ottawa.

But assistant Crown attorney Andre White told Alexandria court that a June 20 meeting between appointed trial judge Justice Franco Giamberardino and regional Senior Justice Hugh Fraser needs to occur before officially accepting the Ottawa dates of Jan. 16 to Feb. 17 and Feb. 27 to March 3, 2017.

Justice of the Peace Ginette Forgues agreed the meeting needed to conclude before making the trial dates official, and suggested that court return to confirm these details on July 6 in Alexandria.

It is uncommon for a trial to be held out of the jurisdiction where the alleged crimes took place. Normally, the public is served best if court proceedings are held in the same locale.

Sec. 599 of the Criminal Code of Canada allows for a court location to be selected elsewhere.

White had indicated that an Ottawa-based assistant Crown is needed to pursue the prosecution because of the past professional relationship between local prosecutors and the accused police officers, and that Ottawa would be more suitable for prosecution.

The defence lawyers for MacDonald and Bernard, Michael Edelson and Mark Wallace respectively, work out of Ottawa as well.

[email protected]

twitter.com/GregPeerenboom

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SDG OPP officers’ trial could be held in Ottawa

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 4:02:46 EDT PM

By Greg Peerenboom, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

This article has been changed from its original version to add names for a defence counsel and agent and detail on change-of-venue requests.

ALEXANDRIA — There is a looming possibility a legal case of police accountability with considerable public interest could be held in Ottawa, instead in a local courtroom.

Two SDG OPP officers, Consts. Luanne MacDonald and John Bernard, have been charged in relation to incidents involving voyeurism and breach of trust.

Representatives for the Cornwall/SDG Crown Attorney and lawyers for MacDonald and Bernard appeared in Alexandria Wednesday with a request to move the trial to Ottawa. Either the Crown or defence attorneys can request the court consider a change of venue for any trial under Sec. 599 of the Criminal Code of Canada if they feel the local venue isn’t suitable to hear the case.

But at the last minute, a court procedural mix-up temporarily shelved the confirmation of the trial’s dates and locale.

Earlier, assistant Crown Andre White was in agreement with a Gaye Leroux, who was acting as an agent for Bernard’s legal counsel Mark Wallace, to set an Ottawa trial date of Jan. 16. This was accepted by Justice of the Peace Ginette Forgue.

Some minutes later, Cornwall lawyer Terry Mazerolle, acting on behalf of MacDonald’s counsel, Michael Edelson, was agreeable to several trial dates: Jan. 16, Feb. 17 and Feb. 27 to March 3.

White, however, voiced his hesitation to confirm the Crown’s position, indicating it was his understanding both officers’ matters would be heard as a single trial.

A courtroom clerk also noted she had not received any trial co-ordination documentation.

White asked the matter be adjourned for one month, presumably so the defence and prosecution could sort out the discrepancy in the dates.

Forgues told the parties the issue would be revisited on June 8 in Alexandria court.

There was no discussion on why the trial would be held out of the Cornwall/SDG jurisdiction.

For the vast majority of cases, the matters are dealt with in a courtroom within the court system local area.

Interviews with Edelson and Attorney General spokesperson Brendan Crawley were requested.

MacDonald and Bernard were arrested in July 2014 after a complaint was lodged in 2012 about the distribution of private information.

[email protected]

twitter.com/GregPeerenboom

________________________________

SD&G OPP officers back in court March 4

Cornwall Standard Freeholder

Monday, February 9, 2015 10:19:13 EST PM

Staff

Two SDG OPP officers continued their journey through the court system last week.

Constables Luanne MacDonald and John Bernard, of the Alexandria detachment, were told in Alexandria court to make another appearance on March 4 in regards to their alleged involvement of secretly taping a naked person and sharing it abroad.

MacDonald is charged with voyeurism, distribution of voyeurism material, fraud, theft of telecommunications service, obstructing justice and three counts of breach of trust by a public officer.

Bernard faces two counts of breach of trust.

They were arrested last July.

* Two prominent residents will be back in court March 5 to deal with major fraud offences.

The files for Gilles Latour, the former head of Team Cornwall, and ex-Cornwall minor hockey president, Brian Caskenette, were dealt with in Cornwall court on Feb. 5.

Latour is accused of defrauding five investors of $678,000. Caskenette was arrested last November in connection to missing hockey association funds.

_______________________________

SD&G OPP officers back in court March 4

Staff

Two SDG OPP officers continued their journey through the court system last week.

Constables Luanne MacDonald and John Bernard, of the Alexandria detachment, were told in Alexandria court to make another appearance on March 4 in regards to their alleged involvement of secretly taping a naked person and sharing it abroad.

MacDonald is charged with voyeurism, distribution of voyeurism material, fraud, theft of telecommunications service, obstructing justice and three counts of breach of trust by a public officer.

Bernard faces two counts of breach of trust.

They were arrested last July.

* Two prominent residents will be back in court March 5 to deal with major fraud offences.

The files for Gilles Latour, the former head of Team Cornwall, and ex-Cornwall minor hockey president, Brian Caskenette, were dealt with in Cornwall court on Feb. 5.

Latour is accused of defrauding five investors of $678,000. Caskenette was arrested last November in connection to missing hockey association funds.

_______________________________

OPP officer Luanne MacDonald accused of secretly filming naked adult

Veteran officer is one of 2 from Alexandria facing serious criminal charges

CBC News

Posted: Jul 23, 2014 7:37 PM ETLast Updated: Jul 23, 2014 8:17 PM ET

Media placeholder

OPP officers charged

Veteran Ontario Provincial Police Const. Luanne MacDonald is facing several criminal charges, including allegations she secretly filmed a naked adult while on duty and then shared the recording, according to court documents obtained by CBC News. ​

MacDonald, 44, has been charged with voyeurism, distribution of voyeurism material, fraud, theft of telecommunications service, obstructing justice and three counts of breach of trust by a public officer. She is an eight-year member of the OPP based in Alexandria, Ont. east of Ottawa.

A second officer from the same OPP office, 41-year-old Const. John Bernard, has also been charged with two counts of breach of trust in the same investigation. Bernard is a 14-year OPP veteran.

Both officers have been suspended with pay and released with a promise to appear in court in Alexandria on Sept. 3.

OPP launched an internal investigation two years ago after receiving information that a constable in Alexandria was disclosing private information.

“The majority of our officers are good, well-rounded officers,” said OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae.

“Unfortunately there are circumstances such as this. We will still investigate, we will charge and we will hold them accountable for what they’re doing.”

‘They should have been more professional’

Residents of the small community of Alexandria are coming to grips with the disturbing news that two of their police officers are facing criminal charges.

“You know, it’s sad, it’s embarrassing on this town, what happened, and they should have been more professional,” said resident Patricia Young.

“I think it does cast a shadow on this force as a whole,” said Leo Lehtiniemi.

Resident Joe Seguin recalled how MacDonald, who grew up in the area, once cut him some slack during a traffic stop.

“I can’t say nothing against her because she was a nice person. She stopped me on the road and she was OK,” he said.

Alexandria, situated 100 kilometres east of Ottawa, has a population of 3,500 people.

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