A former North Vancouver RCMP officer has filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court alleging she suffered two decades of harassment while working for the force, including at the local detachment.
Karen Katz, 47, who worked as an RCMP officer in North Vancouver from 1995 to 1997, filed the lawsuit Friday in B.C. Supreme Court.
In the statement of claim, Katz alleged her harassment began during RCMP training in Regina, where she was called "fat" and told "her appearance in uniform left a lot to be desired," according to the claim.
Katz alleges in the claim that she was subjected to degrading comments and that unsubstantiated critical opinions about her were forwarded to all of her future postings, sealing her fate with the RCMP.
"That followed me wherever I went," she said in an interview on Tuesday. "It ruined my whole career."
According to the court documents, the harassment continued at her first posting in Prince George, where she was subjected to "offensive, humiliating and demeaning comments" from other officers, including being asked about how she liked to have sex.
In one instance, the claim alleges, an officer said to her: "Karen you are just the right height to put a beer on your head and you can give me a blow job."
Katz said she transferred to the North Vancouver detachment in 1995 hoping the situation would improve, but when she arrived, she said, she noticed derogatory comments about her had already been scribbled on the transfer sheet posted on the North Vancouver bulletin board.
"Very few people would talk to me," she said, "I was treated like the black plague."
Katz alleged other police officers refused to back her up on calls, putting her in danger.
A fake birth announcement was posted about her, and her long blonde hair earned her the nickname "Lady Godiva" with one superior, Katz alleged.
Katz said she asked to be transferred to another watch, but was refused.
Katz - who has a master's degree in criminology and is the author of books on biker gangs - was also investigated while at the North Vancouver detachment for contacting a member of a motorcycle gang.
RCMP bosses told her that she had contacted a protected witness, but that was later found to be unsubstantiated, according to the claim.
Katz alleged an inspector with the detachment nonetheless accused her in a report of "having a morbid, unhealthy infatuation with outlaw bikers" and of being "mentally unbalanced."
That opinion was later forwarded to her final posting with protective services, where she transferred after it was determined the environment in North Vancouver was too toxic for her to return.
Katz - who has been off duty on sick leave since 2009 and legally changed her name to Katz in 2010 - said she decided to file her lawsuit now because "I've had it."
"I've given them enough chances in 24 years to make things right for me," she said.
Katz said both harassment and sexual harassment are a widespread problem within the RCMP.
"You get transferred somewhere, and rumours spread whether they are true or not.
"The mentality of the members - they're like high school children."
Katz alleges that the harassment has caused post-traumatic stress disorder, an eating disorder, depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.
In a statement, Supt. Ray Bernoties of the RCMP's E Division said the force has not yet reviewed the unproven allegations.
Katz is not the first to claim harassment at the North Vancouver RCMP detachment.
Former police spokeswoman Cpl. Catherine Galliford filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court earlier this year alleging she was harassed throughout her career with the RCMP including her time in North Vancouver.