January 29, 2023

BURNABY, BC – One of the last members of the Vancouver Police Department, the Const. Before her suicide, Nicole Chan said Chan was upset with the handling of her complaint that a co-worker was blackmailing her for sex. support

BURNABY, BC – One of the last members of the Vancouver Police Department, the Const. Before her suicide, Nicole Chan said Chan was upset with the handling of her complaint that a co-worker was blackmailing her for sex.

support Shelley Horne told a coroner’s inquest Monday that she spoke to Chan at Vancouver General Hospital the day before her death.

“She was frustrated because she felt it was unfair that she couldn’t work and Dave Van Patten could keep his job,” Horne said. “She (thought that) if it had been a member of the public that he had done this to, he would have lost his job.”

The investigation revealed that Chan was arrested under the Mental Health Act and taken to the hospital.

Jennifer Chan told the inquest Monday that her sister’s mental health problems stemmed from sexual assault and blackmail by fellow officer Sgt. David Van Patten, which culminated in her suicide.

“I might be paraphrasing, but in my mind I thought an officer was going to blackmail her into having sex with her, and I knew the officer was in human resources,” she said.

Chan said her sister Nicole struggled with anxiety and depression after she complained to the police chief in 2017 about inappropriate relationships she had with two senior officers.

“She really wanted to go back to work and get well again, to a mental state where she could go back to work,” Chan told the inquest Monday.

Horne said in her statement that she met Nicole Chan in October 2017 while she was working at the sex crimes unit. She said she interviewed Chan about the grievances she brought against Van Patten.

Horne said Chan raised concerns about being “manipulated or coerced” into having sex with him and about how her file was handled by human resources in the department where Van Patten worked.

She said Chan told her that Van Patten took a screen capture of another member’s phone and threatened to send the video to Chan’s husband. Horne did not explain the content of the video at the inquest.

Chan was concerned about the admission and went to Van Patten’s New Westminster flat to talk to him about it, Horne testified.

“When she got there, she said Dave told her he needed to feel close to her and that they needed to have sex,” Horne told the inquest. “So, Nicole told me that she had sex with him, but that she felt really disgusted by it, but felt like she had no real choice but to do it.”

Horne said Chan told her she was concerned about Van Patten’s ability to hurt her career, so they continued the sexual relationship.

“She was motivated to go into ER and felt that Dave would help her with that and that if that relationship collapsed, it would negatively affect her career.”

Chan told the coroner’s jury that her sister was “very ambitious.” She said Nicole joined the Vancouver Police Department to “advocate for victims,” ​​but felt other officers might not want to work with her after she filed the complaint.

She said that before her death, her sister felt aimless about where her life was going, that her career had stalled, and that she had no other job prospects. She added that her sister was hired by the department when she was “only 19 years old.”

“She felt like there was nothing else she could do because she quit school as soon as she was hired by the VPD,” Chan said.

Nicole Chan was on a stress holiday from the Vancouver Police Department when she died.

A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Chan’s family last year alleges she died during a severe mental health crisis after being “blackmailed” by an officer into pursuing a sexual relationship.

The lawsuit was filed against the BC government, the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Board, the Police Department, their union and four officers. However, a hiring notice was filed in the case in September involving one of the officers.

None of the allegations were proven in court.

The complaint states that the BC Police Complaints Officer asked the New Westminster Police Department to investigate the allegations and recommended charges against Van Patten.

The lawsuit says Crown prosecutors later said they would not press charges.

The lawsuit, which was filed last January, says Chan submitted an impact statement to the police complaints officer’s office just three weeks before her death.

“She’s really just pleading for justice,” Jennifer Chan told the inquest, summarizing the statement.

“It describes how she suffered from mental health issues and (it) fundamentally changed her as a person,” Chan said. “She believes it stems from sexual assault at David’s (Van Patten) home and as a result she is unable to form and maintain personal relationships.”

She said her sister was “very disappointed with the whole process” and had actively sought mental health treatment.

“The result wasn’t what she was hoping for, so she felt very down and didn’t have much to look forward to in the future,” she said.

Announcing an inquest, the coroner said the jury would make recommendations and ensure public confidence that the circumstances of the death were not overlooked, concealed or ignored.

—By Brieanna Charlebois in Vancouver

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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