Staff-Sgt. Travis Pearson has gotten himself into a lot of hot water with his sexual relationship with a subordinate under his command, Constable Susan Gastaldo while she worked for him in 2009 in the "Special O" surveillance unit based in Burnaby, BC.
Staff-Sgt. Pearson doesn’t get the #5 spot because I necessarily believe all of Constable Gastaldo’s story. After digging into this bizarre case, the reason that Pearson makes the list is because he is supposed to know better. He is a former RCMP Professional Standards Supervisor.
In a world where that title would actually mean something, Pearson would be a man with character; a man who would never get embroiled in a steamy sexual affair with a subordinate. He would actually behave like a professional.
Staff Sgt. Travis Pearson apparently is not made of such character.
Instead, in 2009 he chose to have sex with Constable Susan Gestaldo in an RCMP cruiser while on duty and used RCMP-issued Blackberries to send sexually-explicit text messages and images to her.
That he chose this path, despite formerly serving as an RCMP Professional Standards Supervisor, speaks volumes about the RCMP’s internal culture of secrecy and utter lack of professionalism.
This internal culture is at the heart of why the British Columbia government needs to call Ottawa’s bluff, refuse to sign the contract and recreate the British Columbia Police Force immediately.
We desperately need a police force we can trust; a police force that has integrity; a police force that actually takes its mandate to protect the public seriously, instead of protecting itself at all costs.
The civil suit filed in B.C. Supreme Court by Constable Susan Gastaldo makes the allegation that Staff Sgt. Travis Pearson used his power and authority over Gastaldo to force his sexual relationship on her and to keep her under his thumb, so to speak.
The more damning allegation she makes really speaks to what so many of the BC RCMP’s critics have claimed for years: that the RCMP protects its own at all costs and will do whatever it takes to keep its members out of trouble, no matter how heinous their crimes.
Gastado says Staff-Sgt. Travis Pearson made it his business to collect “dirt” on fellow RCMP members, both those who served under him as well as his superiors. It was his way of maintaining control over those around him.
“He seemed to have an invincible card,” Gastaldo said.
“He said he had some sort of [information] that someone said or did around the Air India case … if anybody ever tried to get him in trouble he had that in hand, and no one would ever touch him.”
Gastaldo alleged when she returned to work from medical leave in 2009 Pearson told her it was her “task” to “snoop around to get dirt” on a Lower Mainland RCMP Inspector, and “he seemed to have something on so many people [in the RCMP].”
The case has so many bizarre twists and turns it boggles my mind. The big picture though, is of a man in a position of power who believes he is untouchable and above the law he is supposed to enforce; a man who does whatever he wants with whoever he wants, whenever he pleases.
If you want to find out more about this case I would suggest using your favourite search engine to search for the term “Staff-Sgt. Travis Pearson”. You will, I am confident, find out more about this man than you really wanted to know.
To help you along, here are a few links to get you started: