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'Delay and mistrust': Errors made in internal investigation of Sean Chu


The Calgary Police Commission (CPC) admits errors were made during the internal handling of allegations of sexual assault made against Calgary councillor Sean Chu when he was a police officer.

Chu was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 1997. At the time, he was a 34-year-old officer with the Calgary Police Service.

A review of how the allegations were handled was launched shortly after the 2021 municipal election, in which Chu was running for re-election in Ward 4.

Now that the review is complete, the CPC has released a full report and says an internal investigation into the matter was not performed properly.

Many of the mistakes identified in the review revolve around when a disciplinary investigation was completed and how that information was communicated to the victim.

The CPC says while the allegations still led to a disciplinary hearing, the "errors created significant delay and mistrust in the process."

"A teenage girl came to the Service with serious allegations about an officer and the Service did not provide her with the compassionate support she needed to navigate a complex and intimidating process," said Shawn Cornett, CPC chair, in a release.

"It was not okay then and it would not be okay now."

Protesters at Calgary city hall are calling on officials to do something about the situation involving Ward 4 councillor Sean Chu.


According to the complaint file review released on Thursday, the CPC found that the 16-year-old victim had been left out of the proceedings and not updated on its progress because it was listed as an internal complaint, filed by the police chief, and not a public one.

"The reporting requirements were different," the report says.

"All complaints trigger a requirement under Section 45(7) of the Police Act to provide the complainant with a report every 45 days as to the progress of the complaint. This serves several purposes, not the least of which is to reassure the complainant that progress is being made."

The victim was never told about the difference between an internal and public complaint and the CPC says she thought she was the complainant during the entire process.

While it was clear that the victim wanted the matter to proceed, the process to allow that to occur "was never explained to her."

"It is believed that this lack of communication at certain key points were the cause of future issues."

An internal investigation was launched, but the CPC says that stalled once no criminal charges were laid and the victim made complaints about officers investigating the incident.

"One possible gap is the lack of communication to the complainant regarding the difference between a public complaint and an internal complaint. There is no policy 7/8 to address this, however, the Service’s website now provides detailed information on how to file a complaint, the difference between formal and informal resolution, and options for whether the complainant desires to be contacted by the Service to discuss the matter further."

Sean Chu as a member of the Calgary Police Service


The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is one of the biggest differences between now and when the complaint was made, the CPC says.

The addition of this "overseer" agency in 2008 would have allowed the director of law enforcement to be advised about situations like this and make a decision to see if "the matter is within ASIRT's mandate."

"It is very unlikely that the matter would be handled the same in 2022," the CPC said. "Assuming the matter would have been determined to be in scope, ASIRT would then assume the investigation or become involved as an overseer or review body."

Other recommendations were made by the CPC in its review, but it says that all have been implemented since the Chu case took place.


Chu, who was re-elected as Ward 4 councillor on Oct. 18, 2021, admitted to engaging in a sexual encounter with the victim when he was serving as a Calgary police officer.

In a disciplinary hearing, he said he touched the girl on the leg in a public restaurant while in uniform. He also told the hearing that he "participated in consensual sexual foreplay" with the girl in the living room of his home while he was off-duty and not in uniform.

Days after the election, Chu apologized to the victim and said he did not intend to cause her any harm.

He continues to serve on Calgary city council. Top Stories

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