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News Report

Ex-Cop Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

SASKATOON  —  Former Saskatoon police Sgt. Jim Bracken pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexual assault in connection with an incident that occurred while he was on duty in the sex crimes unit.

Bracken, 54, will be sentenced June 7 at Saskatoon provincial court.

Sgt. James Bracken
Sgt. James Bracken The victim phoned Bracken under police supervision. This taped evidence (called a one-party consent telephone recording) was played to the Provincial Court Judge. Lawyer Jay Watson: “A guilty plea was the best thing in the circumstances.”

Details of the offence, which occurred between Feb. 7 and 24, were not given at Wednesday's brief hearing and the name of the victim is subject to a publication ban. The facts will be outlined at the sentencing hearing.

The allegation of inappropriate touching is "the absolute low end of the scale for this type of event," Bracken's lawyer, Jay Watson, said outside court.

"He feels that (the guilty plea) is the best thing in the circumstances," Watson said.

Watson said the incident "wasn't a social circumstance."

Bracken had served 29 years with the Saskatoon Police Service and was assigned to the sex crimes unit within the major crimes section at the time of his retirement, said police spokesperson, Insp. Jeff Bent.

The matter was investigated by internal affairs and turned over to public prosecutions. There will be no police disciplinary action because retired members are outside that jurisdiction, Bent said.

Crown prosecutor Glen Herman of Swift Current was brought in to handle the matter because Bracken has worked in conjunction with most of the prosecutors in the Saskatoon office over the years, Herman said.

"We want to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest," Herman said.

Bracken had submitted his resignation before the offence date, Bent said Wednesday.

"We received his written notice prior to that," he said.

The retirement took effect after the incident but before the complaint against him was filed with Saskatoon police, Bent has said.

Any member can retire with two weeks notice after 25 years but the pension increases by two per cent per year until the maximum pension is reached at 35 years, Bent said.

Read the full legal decision:   R. v. Bracken 2005 SKPC 64

Police Crest Abuse of trust by a police officer is serious. Society's abhorrence and pain can be measured by the number of newspapers which pick up and reprint a story from the Canadian wire service.
Original Ex-cop pleads guilty to sexual assault Saskatoon Star Phoenix, 28 April 2005 (pages A1, A10)
Reprints Ex-officer pleads guilty to sex crime Regina Leader Post, 28 April 2005 (page B3)
  Former officer pleads guilty National Post, 28 April 2005 (page A4)
  Former police sergeant guilty of sexual assault Victoria Times-Colonist, 28 April 2005 (page A9)
  Sex crime investigator pleads guilty:
29-year veteran retired after assault occurred
Montreal Gazette, 28 April 2005 (page A14)

Original Star Phoenix newspaper clipping

Saskatoon Star Phoenix, 28 April 2005 (page A1)

News Clip / Ex-cop pleads guilty to sexual assault

Saskatoon Star Phoenix, 28 April 2005 (page A10)

News Clip / Assault: Outside prosecutor brought in