WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.
In a WorkSafeBC claim filed in the months before she died by suicide, Vancouver Police Const. Nicole Chan claimed that her supervising officer Sgt. David Van Patten forced her to have sex and then used his position of power to protect himself and hinder her medical treatment.
Details of the claim were read by the counsel representing Chan’s family on day three of the British Columbia coroner’s inquest into her death.
Chan, 30, was taken to Vancouver General Hospital on January 26, 2019 under the Mental Health Act. She was released the same night and died the next morning.
In WorkSafeBC’s claim, Chan alleged that Van Patten told her on numerous occasions to have sex with her to relieve his stress “…and that if I helped him, he knew a lot of powerful people at VPD and would forward me could help. .”
“Sometimes I would tell Van Patten I wasn’t interested in sex. He would undress and hold his penis near my face,” she wrote.
Chan’s WorkSafeBC claim further alleges that Van Patten told her he had access to her personnel files, including her medical information. When she was released from active duty due to mental health issues, Chan said Van Patten warned her to contact police psychologist Dr. Randy Mackoff not to tell about him.
“Van Patten and I were still having sex at the time. He told me not to tell Dr Mackoff about our relationship or how bad I felt because it would affect my future career at VPD. Dr Mackoff reported to Van Patten about me, Chan said.
In the claim, Chan said while not yet on active duty, Van Patten obtained a fellow VPD officer’s phone under false pretenses and then used his own phone to take a video of messages and naked pictures of Chan that stood on the other members. phone.
“Van Patten threatened to expose me and the other member with the video to our husbands. Van Patten asked me to come to his house to discuss the video, then told me he would feel better about the video if we had sex I felt compelled to have sex and continue the relationship with Van Patten,” Chan wrote in the claim.
Chan said that when she returned to work, Van Patten asked her about his office on both the second and sixth floors of the VPD building, where they had sex several times.
“I asked Van Patten a number of times to delete the video on his phone. I felt I had to continue our sexual relationship until he deleted it,” she wrote.
Chan said that when Van Patten deleted the video in 2017, their relationship ended.
In the WorkSafeBC claim, Chan also described the circumstances of a second sexual relationship between her and another VPD superior, Sgt. Greg McCullough, whom she confided in about her mental health issues.
“I felt that McCullough was the only person who understood what I was going through, as he had experience dealing with depression, had experienced suicidal thoughts, and I believed he had significant military training in dealing with PTSD and depression. I thought I could trust him because of that and because he was my supervisor,” she wrote.
Chan has attached an email McCullough sent her to the WorkSafeBC claim. In it, he says, “Nicole, I just wanted to help you get better. We got involved emotionally and then physically. I should have known better than to let this happen when what you needed most was a real friend.”
Van Patten was eventually dismissed from the VPD and McCullough resigned from the force.
Chan filed her assault and racketeering complaints with the VPD and an investigation was launched by the New Westminster Police Department. A report was forwarded to prosecutors, but charges were not approved.
Chan’s family has filed a civil suit with a list of defendants including the VPD, her union, the Vancouver Police Board, McCullough and Van Statten.
The coroner’s inquest resumes Thursday and will continue next week.
If you or someone you know is struggling, get help here:
This guide of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health outlines how to talk about suicide with someone you’re worried about.