St. Thomas Police cruiser. (Photo by Miranda Chant, BlackburnNews.com)

St. Thomas cop pleads guilty to sex offence

A now-former St. Thomas police officer has admitted to a sexual offence against an underage girl.

Garry Christiansen pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of sexual interference. The charge, along with charges of sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation, and assault, was laid against him in October of 2017 after a probe by the Special Investigations Unit. The investigation was launched the month before when the St. Thomas Police Service received a complaint of a “sexual nature” against the then Constable. The incidents were alleged to have taken place between January 2016 and January 2017 and involved an underage girl.

Christiansen, who had been with the St. Thomas Police Service since 1990, was placed on suspension when the charges were laid. He resigned on Monday, the day before his guilty plea.

“This has been a difficult time for the victim, the community and our Police Service. It is always very disappointing when an officer is charged with a criminal offence, it is disheartening for our members and we understand it is for the community as well,” St. Thomas Police Chief Chris Herridge said in a statement released Tuesday. “I want to assure the community, especially the victim in this matter, that this is not a reflection of our women and men who work so hard every day to uphold the law and keep our communities safe.”

Christiansen’s case will return to count on September 18 for sentencing submissions