A longtime executive at the company that distributed sexually explicit Greta Thunberg stickers is a volunteer with the Red Deer RCMP—the same detachment that ruled the stickers didn’t constitute child pornography and nobody at the company would face charges for them.
Fraser Logan, media relations manager with the Alberta RCMP, confirmed Tuesday to VICE that Don Stirling is a member of the Red Deer RCMP auxiliary program, a volunteer program for citizens keen to give police a hand. Twitter user Fraser Porter first brought the matter to the RCMP’s attention.
Auxiliary members are unarmed and unpaid, and accompany RCMP officers on routine duty.
“This individual has absolutely no policing powers whatsoever,” Logan said. He couldn’t say how long Stirling had been an auxiliary volunteer.
Logan wouldn’t confirm Stirling’s role with X-Site Energy Services, the Alberta oil services company whose logo appeared at the bottom of the sticker depicting the 17-year-old being held by her braids while penetrated from behind, but said Stirling had a financial interest in the company.
A LinkedIn profile for Don Stirling lists him as a partner manager for X-Site, beginning in 2009 and ending in February 2020, the same month the stickers first made headlines. There’s nothing to indicate Stirling’s end date with the company is connected to the stickers.
The company initially didn’t take responsibility for the sticker, but has since posted an apology on its website, saying it was “we are taking action to condemn this image and its publication and are committed to recovering and destroying the decals we distributed.” The note says management accepts full responsibility and has made organizational changes and will introduce policies to support a respectful workplace culture.
In a March 5 statement titled “distasteful decal,” the Red Deer RCMP said its investigative section concluded the stickers didn’t meet the Criminal Code of Canada’s criteria for child pornography, nor the threshold for criminal charges. The detachment’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit also didn’t think there was enough to lay charges.
According to the relevant section of the Code, child pornography “shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of eighteen years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity.”
Though he couldn’t provide specifics, Logan said the last time Stirling would have done anything with the auxiliary program would have been in 2015.
That’s because police put the brakes on the program that year after an auxiliary member was shot during a routine investigation at an Edmonton casino with a regular RCMP officer, he said. The full time officer, Const. David Matthew Wynn, was killed.
The program has since been overhauled and is slowly ramping back up, Logan said. “It’s my understanding that we’re not quite there yet … in Alberta in terms of restarting the program.” Auxiliaries in Red Deer, like Stirling, would have done things like patrol public events with RCMP officers, Logan said. He couldn’t say how many auxiliary members were with the Red Deer detachment.
The Red Deer RCMP had 178 regular officers in 2018, according to Statistics Canada.
VICE has sent Stirling a message but has not yet received a response. X-Site Energy Services has also not responded to requests for comment.
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