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Toronto police officer accused of helping cops cheat promotions exam pleads guilty to misconduct

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A Toronto police superintendent accused of helping several members of the force gain an unfair advantage in a promotions process has pleaded guilty to seven misconduct charges under the Police Services Act.

At a police tribunal Thursday, Supt. Stacy Clarke plead guilty to the non-criminal charges, which include breach of confidence, discreditable conduct and insubordination.

The charges against her were made public almost two years ago back in January 2022.

Clarke has been on the force since 1998. She was promoted to superintendent in July 2020 and was assigned to 42-Division as managing superintendent in October 2021.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Clarke sat on an interview panel tasked with selecting constables for promotion to sergeant and was specifically advised against communicating with applicants she was mentoring.

Despite that email warning on Nov. 10, 2021, she texted images of questions for the Toronto police sergeant’s interview to six constables on different dates later that month and also ran mock interviews with some of them.

“On November 29, 2021, Superintendent Clarke was on an interview panel with two other senior officers. Their first interview commenced at 09:00,” the statement of facts reads when describing one instance. “Shortly after the first interview completed and before the next interview at 10:00, Superintendent Clarke took photos of the questions and answer rubric from the initial interview.

“She then texted these photos to Constable R.B. and Constable J.W, both of whom had interviews later that day. She also sent the photos to Constable P.G., whose interview was scheduled for the next day.”

Clarke later instructed one of the officers to delete the photos of the questions, according to the statement of facts.

In another instance she had one applicant, who was a long-time family friend and mentee, over to her home for coaching over three days in December 2021 where she asked him questions which had already been put to other applicants “sometimes word for word,” the statement says. She then participated in the panel interviewing the officer – Constable Horace Harvey – without disclosing their personal or mentor-mentee relationship.

Harvey has since pleaded to one count of discreditable conduct for cheating during the promotional process and he received a six-month demotion.

The other officers were disciplined within their units and were docked anywhere from 10 to 20 days’ pay.

In addition to the conflicts of interest, the statement of facts says a review of Clarke’s text messages found messages between Clarke, a civilian member of the force, and an employee of the Toronto Police Services Board “that were inconsistent with the Service's commitment to anti-racism.”

The exact content of the texts was not disclosed in the documents.

Toronto police said Thursday that they could not comment on ongoing tribunal matters.

Clarke was briefly suspended with pay on Jan. 12, 2022, but was reinstated on Feb. 14 that year.

She remains on active duty, Toronto police said.  

Her sentencing will take place at a later date.

In a statement, Toronto police's union said it will be watching "very closely" the sentencing portion of the case to ensure that the outcome is "fair and proportionate."

"Without the fair and equal application of the rules, our members will continue to lose faith and the public will continue to lose confidence in the disciplinary system," the Toronto Police Association said.

 

- With files from CTV Toronto's Mike Walker

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Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said that Clarke is still suspended with pay. It has been adjusted to reflect the fact that she remains on active duty.

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