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Northern Alberta man pleads guilty to harassing two female coworkers at seniors residence

Inappropriate workplace conduct leads two women to file complaints with RCMP
Barrhead Provincial Court (VM)

A Barrhead man pleaded guilty to criminal harassment concerning repeated incidents with two female co-workers over several months at a senior residence.

Hieth Borle pleaded guilty to the charge at an April 23 Barrhead Court of Justice session. Sentencing will be on Aug. 13 by Justice Carrie-Ann Downey.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Kerr said he would withdraw another criminal harassment charge and three for sexual assault following sentencing.

According to the Crown, the first of two complainants filed a complaint with the Barrhead RCMP on July 9, alleging Borle had harassed, making repeated sexual contact and comments to her over a period from May 1, 2023, to Dec. 29, 2023. 

"Specifically, she said [during one incident] Borle approached her from behind while she was leaning against a counter and grabbed her hips and thrust his body into her buttocks," Kerr said, adding she then turned around and asked Borle what he was doing. "Borle responded there were way worse things he could have done while she was bent over."

Kerr added that she then said Borle, who was wearing gloves, reached towards her pants and stated that "it was time for her vaginal exam", telling her that he wanted to "hang her". 

He then said that Borle proceeded to place his hand up the back of the victim's shirt, attaching a coat hanger to her bra strap. 

"He also told her he could do that another way by putting his hands down her pants and hanging the hanger on her underwear," Kerr said.

In another incident, the Crown related how when the two complainants were eating hot dogs during their lunch, Borle approached them and told them, "Wow, you really know how to keep a husband." and later explained to them that they were "practising how to perform oral sex."

The Crown added that the second complainant filed her complaint with the Barrhead RCMP on Jan. 10, 2024, providing a statement alleging similar conduct between herself and Borle.

On Dec. 29, 2023, Kerr said the two complainants reported Borle's repeated harassment to their kitchen manager, adding the following day, the facility's management initiated an internal investigation.

"The investigation involved an interview with Mr. Borle where he admitted that he conducted himself in an unappropriated fashion [with both the complainants] admitting to making inappropriate comments that started innocent but gradually became more and more inappropriate during the time in question," he said. "The evidence obtained from this investigation supported the truth about these allegations, and [management] terminated Borle without pay."

The defence

Smith said during the investigation, his client wasn’t in a position to dispute the comments he made because of the medication he was on but admitted that he did make inappropriate comments and requested a pre-sentencing report.

Downey said that while there was some issue regarding medication, there was not an issue in terms of intention, adding the facts supported the guilty plea, granting the defence's request for a pre-sentence report.

“You have to report to a probation officer and disclose some information about yourself if you wish to disclose it," Downey said, explaining to Borle what a pre-sentencing report was. “[The report] will help me determine a little bit about you and give me a better frame of reference when deciding an appropriate sentence for you."

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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