Vancouver Police officer and former Royal Roads instructor being probed for sexual misconduct

Vancouver Police officer and former Royal Roads instructor being probed for sexual misconduct
A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer's uniform in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) has launched a public hearing into allegations of sexual misconduct involving a Vancouver Police sergeant and former Royal Roads University instructor.

Vancouver Police Department Sgt. Keiron McConnell is facing allegations of sexualized behaviour in work and educational settings coming from seven women, according to the OPCC.

The allegations are related to conduct involving female police officers and former female students at the two post-secondary institutions he worked at, including Royal Roads University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

The commissioner ordered an investigation in April 2022 and heard from three former students of McConnell’s at Royal Roads University. They allege he sent inappropriate or sexual electronic messages to them while enrolled in his courses between 2015 and 2017.

One said McConnell invited students out for drinks in November 2016, but she “became increasingly uncomfortable” with how he acted around her, the notice says.

She said that after she decided to leave, McConnell followed her into a taxi uninvited and tried to kiss her after blocking her from getting out of the vehicle, the notice says.

Another student alleges she became uncomfortable after receiving text messages from him on her personal cellphone and didn’t know how he got her number.

A third student alleged that McConnell sent her Facebook messages in 2018 that “included euphemisms for sexual terms.”

That student worried that McConnell would “speak negatively” about her to police recruiters unless she responded to his messages, and she “ultimately changed her mind about becoming a police officer, which she attributed to her experience with Sgt. McConnell,” the notice says.

Royal Roads tells CHEK News McConnell had a contracted Associate Faculty role with the school. The contract ended in 2017.

“RRU cannot comment further on the matter as it is currently with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner of British Columbia,” said the school Friday.

The OPCC notes that the allegations against McConnell have not been proven.

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“It will be the responsibility of the appointed adjudicator to determine whether the member committed misconduct, to determine appropriate disciplinary or corrective measures, if necessary, and to make recommendations, if appropriate,” said the office.

Retired provincial court judge Carol Baird Ellan has been appointed the adjudicator in the hearing.

“As this matter involves allegations of a sensitive nature, names of the affected persons and complainants have been withheld from the Notice of Public Hearing to protect their identities,” said the OPCC.

“The adjudicator may make further determinations concerning confidentiality in the course of the public hearing.”

The OPCC is an independent agency that oversees municipal police misconduct complaints.

A date has not yet been set for the hearing.

According to McConnell’s faculty page on the Kwantlen Polytechnic University website, McConnell has been a sessional or contract instructor at a range of schools, including Royal Roads University, the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Douglas College, Simon Fraser University Criminology, Wilfred Laurier University and the Native Education Centre.

Adam ChanAdam Chan
Darryl Greer, The Canadian PressDarryl Greer, The Canadian Press

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