Retired cop denies telling dirty joke to recuperating officer
Sam Pazzano, Courts Bureau, Toronto Sun
Publishing date: May 08, 2018
Retired Toronto Police sergeant Angelo Costa told a human rights tribunal he never cracked a joke about oral sex to a fellow cop nursing a sore neck at home.
Costa is testifying at the human rights tribunal hearing of Const. Heather McWilliam, who levelled sexual harassment allegations against the 57-year-old former traffic cop. They worked at 23 Division from the fall of 2012 until early 2014.
McWilliam launched her human rights complaint in 2014, alleging sexual harassment against Toronto Police Services and several members, including Costa, who started testifying on Monday.
Costa told the hearing he was “flabbergasted” when he heard McWilliam came forward with allegations, including an accusation that he forcefully French-kissed her at a work party in an Etobicoke bar.
“I thought we had a great relationship, as I had with all the other officers,” said Costa, adding he never spoke one-to-one with McWilliam. “I was shocked by these allegations. It was like a kick in the gut.”
McWilliam’s lawyer Kate Hughes, asked Costa if he called McWilliam at home in 2013 while she was recuperating from a work-related neck injury
“You told her, ‘I could put your neck to good use,’” Hughes suggested Costa told the woman.
Costa asked how those words conveyed any sexual message. Hughes explained that the line meant meant that if McWilliam performed oral sex, it would ease her strained neck.
“If that’s what you’re suggesting, I disagree,” replied Costa. He said he phoned McWilliam “to see how she was doing and whether she wanted to book more holidays” later that year.
He denied ever engaging in sexual banter at work and emphatically denied saying he was good at “oral sex for an old, hairy Italian guy.
“I don’t recall ever saying those comments. I’m a Canadian first and I have an Italian heritage,” said Costa, who is married with three daughters.
The 30-year officer emphasized that he was “not a jokester” and “never engaged in sexual jokes or innuendo” during his career, which ended in 2015, said Costa.
He said he was investigated, but never interviewed by the Special Investigations Unit about the allegations and a Professional Standards investigation found the accusations were unfounded.
McWilliam, 35, has been on medical leave for PTSD since 2014.