Sunday, March 13, 2011

Border guard gets 2 years for making women strip for no reason

A Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) guard was sentenced to 2 years less a day in the British Columbia jail system followed by three years probation by forcing young women, three Americans and a Canadian, to strip under threat of detention or a criminal record. The victims were detained on pretence of drug charges. 35 year old Daniel Johnson Greenhalgh was sentenced by BC justice Fritz Verhoeven in a New Westminster, BC courtroom on March 4, 2011.

The incidents took place in the spring of 2007 at the Douglas Border Crossing in South Surrey (known as the Blaine or Peach Arch crossing to Americans). The gropings took place between April 12 and May 26 in various locations at the crossing. The first incident, on April 12, featured two Seattle young women who were trying to cross the border. Greenhalgh separated them, made both of them strip, but only groped one of them.

The victims were not admitted into Canada.  The next incident featured a Canadian woman who was returning from Seattle with her friend April 14. The last incident featured a young heterosexual couple detained at the border on May 26, 2007. The last incident lead to the charges Greenhalgh were convicted of. 

The couple were detained at the border for one hour and 20 minutes. During that time Greenhalgh allegedly grilled the young woman about whether she was smuggling drugs, and then suggested that she could either be detained overnight in a cell and strip-searched in the morning or strip-searched now. When she chose to be strip-searched immediately, she was told to walk to the back of the building.

Greenhalgh then allegedly took her to a men's bathroom in a park where he ordered her to take off all her clothes except her underwear. After patting her underwear and private parts, he touched her breasts. She got dressed and the couple was allowed into Canada.

Justice Frits Verhoeven said that while even a legitimate strip search can be humiliating, the disgraced border guard used "relentless lies, intimidation and threats" to coerce women who knew the searches were illegal, but "reluctantly surrendered." Greenhalgh's abuse of authority had not only tainted the reputation of the CBSA, but tainted the reputation of Canada itself. Justice Verhoeven said that crimes like Greenhalgh's "shock and appall nearly every Canadian."

As a border guard, Greenhalgh was entrusted with enormous power, which he "knowingly, flagrantly and repeatedly" abused with apparent indifference to the suffering of his victims, Verhoeven said. And yet, he noted, the former guard has shown no sign of remorse.

The judge noted that Greenhalgh refused to discuss the offences with a psychiatrist prior to sentencing. Outside court, defence lawyer Stephanie Vyas explained to reporters that Greenhalgh maintains he's innocent and will launch an appeal of his conviction. The psychiatrist found him a moderate risk to reoffend, unless he finds himself once again in a position of authority. In such circumstances, the psychiatrist said, he'd be a high risk.

Two of the victims submitted victim impact statements. One said that after the "insult to her dignity," she had become cynical about authority figure, and a second victim is now afraid to travel. Another victim impact statement was submitted by Greenhalgh's ex-wife, who he met on the job as a fellow border guard. The ex-wife said that the crimes were a "devastating" breach of trust not only to the profession, but to her and their children. Greenhalgh is currently living in his parents' basement after being fired from the CBSA, a construction job, and using up his unemployment benefits.

Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson said that the sentence was just, since Greenhalgh's conduct was "an affront to all Canadians. He broke his promise, his oath of office."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

does he strip dudes too?
maybe, after completing his sentence, he can get work with the Stark[sp] (or is it Star?) county Ohio sheriff's department where they brutalised that poor young woman who had called the police for assistance with some matter but the creeps there (male and female) were in the mood for a gang forced strip search?