A 12-year member of the North Bay Police Service pleaded guilty to one count of neglect of duty relating to a sexual assault investigation involving a female student at the Canadore College Campus back in December of 2018.
Constable Steve Carleton entered a plea of guilty to the charge during a North Bay Police Services Hearing held in the basement of headquarters on Princess Street in North Bay Wednesday morning.
"Constable Carleton has worked as a uniform officer and got into criminal investigations in 2014. He is pleading guilty and feels remorse through a joint submission," said Courtney Marsh, the prosecuting attorney representing the North Bay Police Service.
"He accepts responsibility. This officer understands his actions and answered to the charges He had a duty to do it with professionalism but did not follow through the proper steps in his investigation."
However, the mother of the female involved in the incident disagrees. She attended the hearing representing her daughter who she says was too uncomfortable to attend.
"There is nothing that is going to correct the wrong," the mother told the tribunal.
She claimed that Carleton did not believe her daughter was sexually assaulted in the first place and even filed a mischief complaint afterward against her.
"Carleton stated 'She did not look like a true victim of sexual assault,'" the prosecution read.
Defense lawyer Gary Clewley who represented Carleton at the hearing noted that Carleton still did do a lot of things correctly during the investigation including taking the girl to the hospital and returning her home.
“But none of this excuses his oversights and he has learned from this experience and he will be better, he takes responsibility for it,” Clewley said about Carleton.
While Carleton faced the mother directly and made eye contact with her during her criticism, she did not agree.
"Mr. Clewley says he accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized, but he has shown no signs of remorse or direct apology to anyone," noted the mother.
The mother felt distrust from the local police service after dealing with Carleton as the investigating officer. However, she did get some of that trust back when her daughter later met with a female North Bay Police Service officer and Police Chief Scott Tod.
"My daughter wished she (female police officer) was there to investigate in the first place, and the Chief has the best interest of victims in mind. I hope his tenure is a long one," the mother stated.
As part of the discipline, Carleton receives a penalty of eight days of work without pay.
The mother felt that was too lenient.
"He should receive a six-month demotion to be trained in sexual assault and needs rehabilitation," she stated.
However, an additional investigation relating to the December 2018 incident is ongoing through the Ontario Provincial Police.
Adjudicator Morris Albers gave Carleton the opportunity to speak for himself at the end of the hearing but he declined.
“To get this resolved is a credit to yourself, sir,” Albers said to Carleton.