EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story contains graphic language of a sexual nature.
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A Surrey RCMP constable has been re-hired and is awaiting a second hearing after appealing his firing in 2018 for exchanging “inappropriate sexual and personal text messages” with a woman who was a victim of domestic abuse.
The conduct appeal decision, dated Sept. 8, 2021, notes adjudicator Steve Dunn will “allow the appeal” for Const. Andrew Scott Hedderson and ordered a new hearing “before a differently constituted conduct board.”
Dunn also noted in his decision that Hedderson, in the meantime, was to be “reappointed as a member of the RCMP from the dismissal date,” with retroactive pay and allowances.
In a decision dated Dec. 17, 2018, an RCMP conduct board found Hedderson “engaged in discreditable conduct by showing a revealing picture of himself and exchanging inappropriate sexual and personal text messages” with the victim.
The board also found Hedderson “failed to diligently perform duties and take appropriate action to aid” the woman. He was dismissed from his job and the board imposed a forfeiture of 15 days’ pay for failing to perform his duties.
The allegations stem from a March 27, 2017 incident when the woman was allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend in a Safeway parking lot on 152 Street. Hedderson went to the woman’s home the next day for a statement, but “noting her reluctance to trust the police,” he spent “some time trying to build a rapport” with her.
“Noting that ‘…I’m a fairly charming dude…’, and wanting to get a statement from (the woman) … (Hedderson) continued to build a rapport, and he felt she was ‘kinda flirting’ so he used it to his advantage to make her feel more comfortable in order to get a statement,” the decision stated.
Hedderson asked her if she had pictures of her injuries from the assault, so she showed him a picture taken before she had a shower, but she did not realize it showed her breasts, the decision added. Hedderson allegedly made a comment about her “boobies.”
Shortly after that, Hedderson said, he showed her a photograph that was “essentially a dick pic,” adding that was a “big mistake.”
Following that, the two reportedly exchanged a total of 323 text messages, which according to the woman, included messaged from Hedderson that he was “‘hard,’ the fact that he wanted to thoroughly check her out or perform ‘a deep thorough check’, and the size of his ‘package’ or penis.”
The decision notes that Hedderson said he is “fairly certain I was the one who started” the “inappropriate texting.”
It was on March 30, 2017 that Hedderson said he realized what he had done was inappropriate, and blocked her number after she allegedly threatened to destroy his career.
Then, when the woman attended her ex-boyfriend’s court hearing, she advised Crown Counsel that Hedderson has “showed her explicit pictures of himself and corresponded with her via texts of a sexual nature.”
A conduct board was appointed on Dec. 21, 2017.
On Dec. 26, 2018, Hedderson applied to appeal the decision, saying the conduct measures imposed were “unreasonable and overly punitive” and “that the board was biased in the decision-making process.”
He said the board breached his “right to procedural fairness by not holding an in-person hearing,” as well as determining the woman was a “vulnerable person,” so she didn’t have to testify.
The decision doesn’t say when a second hearing will be scheduled.