The sin they do by two and two,
They must pay for one by one.Rudyard Kipling
Long-time police partners James Bracken and Allan Stickney watched each other's back. After 20 years in the Saskatoon Police Force, they filled these positions:
· Bracken headed the Major Crimes Unit
· Stickney managed the Records Division
As head of Major Crimes, Bracken investigated a case of abuse of an underage girl by her neighbor. She was fragile. Bracken capitalized on this, and began grooming her with lewd talk, gifts of police uniforms, and air tickets for a jaunt to a nude Jamaican resort.
Feb 24 – Bracken finally assaulted the young girl. She turned him in.
Feb 21 to Mar 4 – A computer meltdown on March 4 wiped out files at the Saskatoon Police Station for a twelve-day period going back to Feb 21. Stickney was in charge.
Until the crash, the computer stored a series of detailed Occurrence Reports for the girl/neighbor abuse case — all written by lead investigator Bracken. Res ipsa loquitur: the thing speaks for itself.
Links to the original sources appear below. A significant overlap of dates between those source documents allows us to construct the full picture.
R. v. Bracken SKPC 64Judicial Ruling
Computer meltdown destroys 1,000 police filesSaskatoon Star Phoenix
Sgt. Bracken was assigned as the lead investigator in the case of 17-year old victim S. versus her neighbor.
Over a period of seven months, Sgt. James Bracken began grooming a vulnerable underage girl (identified only by initial ‘S’). Bracken was persistent and his misconduct escalated. Bracken arranged nearly 40 phone calls and lunches with the young. The tenor changed to lewd talk and insistence on semi-nude photos. With intent. Bracken pressed onto victim S. ignoble gifts and a Jamaica jaunt.
Sgt. Bracken finally assaulted victim S. in his police vehicle when on duty. In parallel. Bracken continued to testify in Court trial of victim S. versus her neighbor.
Feb 21 to March 4, 2005
Approximately 1,000 computer files were deleted spanning this 12-day stretch of time.
Feb 24, 2005
Victim S. reported the assault by Bracken. She then spoke to the Prosecutor handling the Court case re her neighbor. Victim S. asked to drop the charges against her neighbor (she wanted to avoid Bracken who was lead investigator on that case). Her complaint was sent to the Inspector of the Police Service. Internal Affairs investigated Bracken, then turned the matter over to Public Prosecutions. An arrest warrant was issued for Bracken. The criminal charges are listed on Information #34542900.
This date is firmly within the period where computer files were destroyed.
March 1, 2005
Sgt. Bracken retired from the Police Service. His age was 55. He took early retirement for the express purpose of evading internal disciplinary action.
March 4, 2005
The computer crashed at the Saskatoon Police Station. The Star Phoenix newspaper reported: “A computer meltdown wiped out computer files from the previous 12 days. Approximately 1,000 files were lost.” This means that data files were deleted over a period extending from February 21st up to March 4th.
A one-party consent telephone recording was authorized between ‘S’ and Bracken. In that phone call, Bracken openly acknowledged and admitted his actions.
Information #34542900 sworn by Cst. Cridland. This is the charging document, the formal list of criminal counts laid against Sgt. Bracken. It said:
JAMES BRACKEN b. 10-June-1950 RR #3 SASKATOON SK
(1) between the 7th day of February, A.D. 2005 and the 24th day of February, A.D. 2005 at or near SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN did:
COMMIT A SEXUAL ASSAULT ON (NAME BLACKED OUT), CONTRARY TO SECTION 271 OF THE CRIMINAL CODE. (34542900 19889-05)
Bracken appeared in Saskatoon Provincial Court and pleaded guilty.
The Court held a Sentencing Hearing for Bracken. Decision: Bracken was not allowed to serve his sentence in the community. The judge ruled that a greater deterrent effect is needed when a police officer abuses his trust in the context of his duties.
Analysis: Over their history, the Saskatoon Police have experienced just one computer crash, namely the one occurring on March 4th. Three days earlier, Bracken learned he would face an internal disciplinary panel. So intent was Bracken on evading questions from Internal Affairs, that he retired ten years early, losing a large percentage of his pension as a result. (Once a police officer retires, Internal Affairs no longer has jurisdiction over the officer.)
Questions: Did Bracken engineer the meltdown himself, or participate with a computer literate person to do it, or simply let his friends know with a nudge and a wink how helpful it would be? Did his former partner Insp. Allan Stickney cover Bracken's back? Or, are the dates — those very closely spaced dates — mere coincidence?