Roxanne Greene of Labrador West says she suffered years of trauma at the hands of her ex-husband, a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer. (Darryl Dinn/CBC)
A Labrador City woman is accusing a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary sergeant of sexual assault and harassment after years of alleged abuse left her unable to live a normal life.
Roxanne Greene says despite repeated complaints, the police force declined to take her safety seriously.
Greene described to CBC News how her ex-husband, a constable and now a sergeant with the force, would threaten, follow and verbally abuse her, often while in his patrol car and on duty.
The incidents stretch back to 2008, but in spite of detailed documentation and seven separate complaints, no criminal charges were ever laid.
“I have spent years not leaving my house. When I do, someone has to be with me,” Greene said quietly, speaking with CBC News from her backyard in Labrador City.
“I have PTSD because of the rape, and all the control, and the stalking, and the harassment.”
The RNC has once again been feeling the glare of public scrutiny in recent weeks, after a St. John’s lawyer revealed over a dozen reports last month from women accusing RNC officers of engaging in sexual misconduct while on duty.
Greene’s accusations against her alleged abuser — RNC Sgt. Nick Rumbolt — also come on the heels of a high-profile case involving Const. Doug Snelgrove, who was convicted in May of sexually assaulting a young woman in 2014.
Greene, who sat down with CBC News just weeks later, says the Snelgrove trial spurred her to go public.
Greene alleges that Rumbolt broke into her home one night in 2009 and violently sexually assaulted her in her bedroom. A full investigation by the RCMP did not result in charges, and Greene’s allegations have not been proven in court.
Neither the constabulary nor Rumbolt agreed to interview requests from CBC.
‘They’re not going to help me’
When Greene, a widow, first met Rumbolt, he seemed like an all-around nice guy — a caring partner and father-figure to her two sons, who would take the kids out to eat and bring them gifts.
The tide turned after the family moved from St. John’s to Labrador City, her sons told CBC News, describing angry outbursts from Rumbolt, who allegedly formed tight bonds with other members of the RNC detachment and drank heavily with them. He saw himself as “untouchable,” according to one of Greene’s sons.
Greene’s sons as well as her mother described to CBC a deteriorating relationship between Greene and Rumbolt. After the two separated, Greene, who works in the field of intimate partner violence, says Rumbolt began harassing her immediately, often following her in his patrol car and accusing her of sleeping with other men.
Roxanne Greene and her two sons around the time she met Nicholas Rumbolt. (Submitted by Roxanne Greene)
On multiple occasions, according to Greene and a former colleague at her workplace, Wabush Mines, Rumbolt appeared while she worked overnight security, parking near the security gate or on a stretch of deserted road where Greene would make her nightly rounds.
The first time he showed up, Greene called police as she watched text messages from Rumbolt pinging on her phone, demanding to speak to her and threatening to break through the door. Terrified, “I ended up hiding under my desk,” she recalled.
Rumbolt’s colleagues at the RNC headquarters, she says, denied her request for help. “I said, he’s down here, you need to make him leave,” she recounted. “And the officer said, ‘I don’t know what you’re getting on with, he’s sitting right next to me.’
“I knew then, they’re not going to help me.”
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary detachment in Labrador City. (Darryl Dinn/CBC)
Greene says Rumbolt continued to follow her around town, appearing at the grocery store and driving up and down her street while on duty. He would sometimes barge inside her home, making accusations and threats. Greene says she quickly learned not to venture outside.
One night, according to Greene, Rumbolt broke into the house through the front door and sexually assaulted her. Greene says she sat in the corner of her room, stunned, until the sun came up.
“I remember being terrified that someone would find out. That they would see me and know that something happened,” she said, her voice shaking. “And then I remember being devastated because nobody knew I was walking around, completely broken.”
It would take Greene a decade to disclose the alleged assault to her family and document that accusation with police.
‘I just want to live in peace’
In a written statement to the RNC in 2009, Greene described Rumbolt telling her she would “never have a life in this town,” calling her “degrading” names in repeated attempts at contact. On one occasion, he followed her in his police car as she walked to a friend’s house, she wrote, calling her a “slut” and a “f–king bitch.” On another night, he called her 50 times.
“I just want to live in peace, not watched, followed and tormented anymore,” she wrote.
Her initial attempt to obtain a restraining order was unsuccessful, according to Greene in a statement she submitted to the RNC Public Complaints Commission. She described officers declining to help her at the Labrador City detachment, then pressure from the superior officer to avoid “messing with a man’s career.”
Greene says she mostly remained inside her house for years, leaving only for work and essentials. (Darryl Dinn/CBC)
Rumbolt was “sanctioned internally” for three incidents, according to the complaint commission’s response in 2011, which Greene provided to CBC.
A Crown attorney determined there were no grounds to lay harassment charges.
“There were many incidents that I did not report,” she would later write, in a second 2019 public complaint statement.
“On their own they seemed too insignificant to report, but in their totality they spoke volumes.”
In that statement, she went on to describe the decade-long impact on her life.
“I am fearful of this man … when someone blames you for ruining their life, tells you that you will f–king pay for causing them trouble and that no one will help you, you believe them,” she wrote.
“This complaint is my story, and it is a story of ongoing control, intimidation, harassment and punishment from an officer who is in a position of power over me and uses it to his advantage.”
Despite recent comments encouraging increased transparency within the force, recently retired RNC Chief Joe Boland refused to speak with CBC for this story, cancelling a scheduled interview on four separate occasions. Instead, a media spokesperson offered a statement on the matter.
“The RNC asks that anyone with a complaint come forward to the RNC, Public Complaints Commission, or SIRT-NL,” a spokesperson wrote.
CBC contacted Rumbolt three times to detail the allegations against him and request an interview or statement. He declined to comment.
Not long after her first public complaint, Rumbolt was transferred to the RNC’s detachment in Corner Brook.
Greene breathed easy for a while, but her anxiety, she said, continued to simmer under the surface. She eventually disclosed the alleged sexual assault to a health-care worker in 2015 when she sought help for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to notes from Labrador-Grenfell Health that Greene provided to CBC.
Rumbolt reappeared in Labrador West almost six years later. In 2019, he pulled Greene and her current husband over on a stretch of road outside town. Greene’s fear reignited.
Greene moves more freely around town these days, often walking her dog. (Darryl Dinn/CBC)
She reported the alleged sexual assault to police shortly after, which launched a criminal investigation through the RCMP. Officers assigned to that file interviewed more than 40 people, according to SIRT-NL documents provided by Greene.
In a letter to Greene following its investigation, the RCMP said “variations in statements provided over time” did not meet the threshold for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. No charges were laid.
A subsequent SIRT review found that investigation was comprehensive and complete.
“In [Rumbolt’s] statement, he denies harassing [Greene], stating their arguments were of equal blame,” wrote director Mike King. “He categorically denies the alleged sexual assault.”
The RCMP concluded “that nothing substantial had been uncovered to corroborate the original witness statements or to resolve some significant inconsistencies that existed in the file,” King continued.
King said original records of Greene’s complaints had been “purged” from the RNC’s files, and were not available to investigators.
13 probes in 5 years
Greene is far from alone in bringing serious accusations to light about alleged misconduct involving police officers.
According to lawyer Lynn Moore, 13 women last month came forward to disclose sexual misconduct by eight RNC officers. Many of those did not report the alleged misconduct to police.
Still more have been investigated by an external agency in Newfoundland and Labrador in the last five years.
Thirteen police officers, five of them working for the RNC, have been the subject of sexual or domestic violence probes since 2016, according to data from SIRT and Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Justice.
Greene says her multiple complaints were only ever treated by the RNC as a “bad breakup.” On a recent occasion, in 2019, Greene says an inspector attempted to convince her that the alleged sexual assault was merely a matter of her own perception, and encouraged her to seek counselling for being “overly emotional.”
“I honestly questioned my own sanity. I left feeling like a criminal, not a victim,” she said of that encounter. “I feel there was gaslighting from the moment I entered his office until I raced out of the building.”
Greene believes strong police oversight and better domestic violence training within the RNC could help level the playing field for women making complaints against police officers. Tired of living in fear, she told CBC that speaking publicly could help others come forward.
“Most of us do not have our day in court. Most of us don’t even see charges laid,” she said.
“I want things to change. I want people to be safe. I want women to be able to come forward and be heard. I want officers held accountable for their actions.”
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