Civilian guard accused of sexually assaulting woman in Manitoba RCMP cell

RCMP say a civilian contractor working as a guard at a detachment in northern Manitoba has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman while she was in a cell.

Mounties say the 39-year-old woman reported the alleged assault Sunday.

Police said Thursday that the woman had not been charged with any offences, but had been put in the cell overnight at the detachment in Little Grand Rapids, a fly-in community northeast of Winnipeg near the Ontario boundary.

RCMP said the guard is alleged to have entered the woman’s cell, offered her alcohol and inappropriately touched her several times.

Donald James Fraser, 54, and is to appear in provincial court in Little Grand Rapids on July 27.

Fraser was an employee with the Corps of Commissionaires, a national not-for-profit security company.

RCMP detachments in Manitoba have a list of guards that are contracted through the organization. People on the list are contacted when needed and come in based on availability, Tara Seel, a media relations officer with Manitoba RCMP, said in an email.

Cell guards are responsible for the safety and security of anyone in cells, she said.

Mounties said in a release that guards are only permitted to enter a cell without an officer present in an emergency. No officer was present when the suspect allegedly entered the woman’s cell.

Seel would not comment on the specifics of the investigation.

“The investigation is ongoing so we cannot discuss all the details,” she said. “I can confirm that our cells have television monitoring, so there is security footage available to us as part of this investigation.”

Bryan Payne, chief executive officer of the security firm’s Manitoba branch, said Fraser is no longer employed with the company.

He would not say how long Fraser had worked for the company.

People who are employed by the Corps of Commissionaires are subject to criminal record and child abuse registry checks, as well as an internal RCMP security check before they can work as a detention guard, he said.

“This is a highly unusual and unprecedented incident,” Payne said in an interview.

“We take these types of incidents and lessons very seriously, because they’re real to the people involved.”

The company employs more than 500 people across the province who can be stationed anywhere the RCMP has a detachment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2022.

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