An RCMP officer who admitted he “may have” touched his penis while standing naked in his Penticton home in view of two teenaged girls has been docked 10 days’ pay and 10 days’ vacation.
Const. Ryan Fulcher admitted to a single count of discreditable conduct and was penalized by the force in January 2021, according to a newly published decision of the RCMP Conduct Board.
Fulcher was attached to the Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit in Osoyoos at the time of the incident on Sept. 29, 2018.
The girls were walking by Fulcher’s home late that night “when they allegedly observed a naked male standing at the large front window,” Insp. Colin Miller, an adjudicator for the RCMP Conduct Board, wrote in his decision.
“This naked male was visible to both girls and, to them, he appeared to be possibly masturbating.”
The girls – whose identities are subject to a publication ban – reported what they saw to one of their mothers. The mother immediately reported the incident to police, then took the girls for a drive to confirm the location of the house in question. The mother “also allegedly observed the naked adult male in the large front picture window of the residence,” noted Miller.
Fulcher admitted to the Conduct Board that he was naked in his living room with the curtains open and a light on at the time of the incident.
“The member denies that he was fondling himself, but admits that it was possible that his hand briefly touched his penis,” wrote Miller.
Lawyers for both Fulcher and the RCMP recommended the penalty that was eventually assessed.
Miller cited as aggravating factors the proximity of Fulcher’s home to a school, the involvement of the teenaged witnesses and other police officers who investigated the incident, and media attention surrounding the case.
Miller cited as mitigating factors Fulcher’s diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, admission of wrongdoing, expression of remorse, good work history, lack of prior disciplinary record, and the “momentary lapse of judgment” that led to the incident.
“These (disciplinary) measures… impose a significant sanction on Const. Fulcher, which clearly communicates that he is being held accountable for his behaviour. Furthermore, I believe that these conduct measures will provide significant deterrence, both specifically and generally,” concluded Miller.
“Const. Fulcher has been given an opportunity to continue his career with the RCMP. However, any future contravention of the Code of Conduct will be seriously reviewed by the appropriate conduct authority and could lead to his dismissal from the force.
“I trust that, in the future, he will be more cognizant of his surroundings and conduct himself in a manner that is in accordance with the expectations that the public holds in regard to members of the RCMP.”
The disciplinary hearing was staged behind closed doors at the request of Fulcher, who also unsuccessfully sought to have his name scrubbed from the public version of the decision.
The force’s internal disciplinary process was delayed while Fulcher, who was suspended with pay, dealt with a separate criminal charge of committing an indecent act that arose from the same incident.
Fulcher was initially slated to stand trial in provincial court in Penticton in December 2019, but the case was adjourned for medical reasons and later dismissed when the Crown stayed the charge in May 2020.
The RCMP didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday.