A second major RCMP sexual harassment case, only 3 years after the last, will be settled at $100M following the claims of lead plaintiff Cheryl Tiller.
The first 100M dollar debacle came from its female RCMP members. Following the settlement, former Commissioner Bob Paulson gave an impassioned speech, wherein he said that “the fist of God will fall” on all those implicated in the scandal.
However, many have been left waiting for that fist to fall. “There’s a lot of people waiting for that fist to show up,” Janet Merlo, leading plaintiff of the 2016 case, said in a statement. “Talk is cheap if you’re not going to follow through and do it.”
Because that case won, more women, this time volunteers or municipal and contract workers, have gained the confidence to come forward with their own claims—all 41,000 of them.
“The settlement is expected to incorporate around 41,000 women,” Global News reports, “whose work with the force dates back to 1974 (the year women were first welcomed into the RCMP)—although the number of women who can participate isn’t capped, and neither is the total payout. The $100-million settlement figure is just an estimate and roughly 1,500 claims are expected.”
Cheryl Tiller, a stenographer at the time of the alleged harassment, claims that she was severely groped by a sergeant in public during a retirement party for a seasoned corporal in 2007.
“Everybody saw it,” Tiller says, explaining how the sergeant put his hands between her legs and proceeded to molest her crotch and buttocks. “I’m normally very outgoing, bubbly. … I fell into a deep depression,” she continued. “To this day I continue to see a counsellor.”
Many similar stories have since been revealed, and Tiller claims that she seeks justice for those other women as much as for herself. “I want them to know it’s OK to talk about it,” she explains. “We can’t move forward unless we go through it.”
The hearing for the $100M settlement agreement is set for October 17th, 2019 and will see the money distributed based on each claim’s weight and severity. Each claimant can expect between $10,000 and $220,000.
While all this is terrible, it isn’t even close to over. Earlier this year, 3 women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by RCMP doctors during the recruitment’s mandatory medical exams, began proceeding with a $135-million class action lawsuit against the institution.
“There was no way out,” Helen Henderson told CBC News, recalling her examination 30-years ago. “There [were] no gloves. There was no handwashing. He was taking advantage of a young girl who didn’t know any better. He was getting off personally.”
How many young women were assaulted by the doctor in question, John A. MacDougal, as well as others, will likely never be known, but justice is being pursued.