VPD officer charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation

Det. Const. James Fisher via CBC
Det. Const. James Fisher via CBC

Once acclaimed for catching predator, now accused as one

By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor

Detective Constable James Fisher of the Vancouver Police Department has been charged with the sexual assault and sexual harassment of two women, one of whom was a minor.

According to the Globe and Mail, Fisher received six charges overall—three charges of sexual exploitation, one count of breach of trust by sexually touching a witness in a criminal prosecution, one count of sexual assault, and one count of obstructing justice.

Fisher, who has been involved with the VPD for 29 years, was arrested and charged on December 28, with the Vancouver Police Department announcing the arrest and suspending Fisher on December 29, 2016.

Allegedly, the assaults occurred in August and October 2015. Chief Constable Adam Palmer began an internal investigation in March 2016, after another police officer came to Palmer with concerns. The investigation was also assisted by the RCMP.

“It’s just a very unfortunate set of circumstances and a difficult thing for me to come here and stand before you today and talk about this, but, that said, when we heard about it we got onto this quickly and did the right thing,” Palmer said during a press conference on December 29, 2016, the Globe and Mail reported.

Fisher remained working with the VPD during his investigation.

“It was necessary to keep him on active duty while the investigation unfolded, while we gathered evidence,” Palmer said. “We had safety plans in place to ensure that nobody was in any danger whatsoever.”

Fisher was released on bail on December 29, 2016, under the condition that he not contact the alleged victims or other agencies (identities protected by a publication ban).

“It is rare for a VPD officer to be charged with offences such as these,” CBC reported Palmer saying during the press conference. “There is no information to suggest that another officer was involved.”

Allegations of Fisher being detected by Creep Catchers, an online group dedicated to catching predators, have been rampant. Palmer has denied that the group was involved in the case.

No other officers have been suspected in the case, but the VPD is uncertain if there are more victims involved and are urging those with more information to come forward.

Ironically, Fisher’s accusations comes only a year and a half after a task force that he was part of helped to uncover a ring of sex trafficked teenagers operated by Reza Moazami in 2015.

Fisher’s next court appearance will take place on January 24. Due to the unique nature of Fisher’s involvement in the VPD and, subsequently, Vancouver’s Provincial Courts, Fisher’s trial will be handled in the Surrey Provincial Courts, away from prosecutors and judges that Fisher has been involved with.