The fallout over a report released by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) about former VicPD Chief Frank Elsner continued again on Monday.
It centres on criticism of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board co-chairs: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins. They call the criticism unwarranted but are also contradicting each other about when they learned about further allegations of bullying and sexual harassment against Elsner.
Last week, Desjardins said no one had come forward to the police board.
“As two female mayors, had somebody come to us, we would have been investigating it right away,” Desjardins said.
Helps, however, said she did not recall when exactly they knew about the further allegations.
“It came up during the internal investigation,” Helps said.
On Monday, Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe released a letter sent by the internal investigator to both mayors on Nov. 15, 2015, informing them of the allegations of harassment and bullying against Elsner.
“It seems that the commissioner’s reference to that letter, without the content of the entire letter, has created some confusion as to when the mayors knew about allegations of bullying and harassment against former chief Frank Elsner. For the purposes of clarity, the commissioner is releasing the letter in its entirety, except for two portions that are not relevant, which have been removed,”Monday’s release read.
It was outside the scope of the investigation into Elsner’s use of the Victoria police’s social media accounts and whether he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a member of another police department who is married to a VicPD officer. The mayors were asked how they would like to proceed.
The OPCC highlighted in its review of the two investigations and subsequent disciplinary proceedings involving Elsner that the two mayors chose not to expand the investigation and made no mention of the new allegations to the OPCC.
The report also suggests the Helps and Desjardins had predetermined the case against Elsner to allow him to keep his job.
Helps and Desjardins refute the allegation.
Read the full letter below: