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Ex-B.C. RCMP officer convicted of exposing himself to schoolgirls loses appeal

Former Richmond officer Andrew James Seangio was convicted by a jury on a 10-count indictment.
A former B.C. RCMP officer has lost his appeal of 10 convictions of exposing himself to teen girls. (Photo: Brendan Kergin)

B.C.’s top court has rejected the appeal of a former Richmond RCMP officer convicted of exposing himself to Vancouver private schoolgirls.

“The accused targeted schoolgirls dressed in uniform,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge said Nov. 4, 2022 as she sentenced Andrew James Seangio to 18 months in jail.

“Mr. Seangio was a sexual predator,” she said.

The incidents happened while Seangio was driving through Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood in early 2019.

Seangio was convicted by a jury on a 10-count indictment, including three counts of exposing his genital organs to people under 16 for a sexual purpose. The other seven counts involve allegations of committing an indecent act in public.

He appealed that to the B.C. Court of Appeal, which unanimously upheld Wedge’s decision on April 18.

The appeal

In his appeal, Seangio alleged multiple errors in the judge’s charge to the jury.

He claimed Wedge:

• improperly instructed the jury on similar fact reasoning;

• instructing the jury that it could convict without the Crown having to prove Seangio knew or was reckless as to whether the complainants were underage; and,

• instructing the jury that a factor to consider in assessing the credibility of a witness’s evidence is whether the witness has an interest in the outcome of the case; and, by not giving a warning on assessing guilt on credibility of witnesses.

Writing for the three-judge panel, Justice Anne MacKenzie rejected Seangio’s claims on Wedge’s charge to jurors.

“Nothing in the perpetrator’s conduct suggested he took reasonable steps to ensure the victims were 16 years of age or more; he did not even communicate with them,” she said.

As for witnesses having an interest in the case outcome, Seangio, the only defence witness, argued the judge’s jury charge “invited the jury to reject his evidence because he was the only witness with an interest in the outcome.”

MacKenzie also rejected that.

“The charge repeatedly stressed the presumption of innocence and the Crown’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.

“In my view, the judge made none of the errors alleged. In the result, I would dismiss the appeal,” MacKenzie said.

The convictions

The case included two undercover officers dressed as schoolgirls, part of a sting set up after police were alerted to reports of a man exposing himself. Most of the events in question took place close to the all-girl private schools Little Flower Academy and York House School. 

Seangio took the stand at trial.

“Mr. Seangio testified and gave a blanket denial that he ever exposed himself or masturbated in public at any time,” Wedge said.

She said the jury clearly rejected those denials.

Crown prosecutor Geoff Baragar told Wedge during sentencing submissions that Seangio’s actions were “very much a breach of the trust the public would expect of a person holding that position.”

In the case of the schoolgirls, Baragar said, Seangio offered no explanation. In the case of the female officers, “he simply denied he was masturbating.”

His lawyer, Glen Orris, read out a letter from Seangio in which he expressed remorse and a "sincerest" apology.

Wedge said the complainants were traumatized by the incidents.

“They were children, school-aged children,” she said, adding Seangio “expressed no actual remorse.”

“There was no acknowledgement of the trauma he caused the complainants,” Wedge said, noting the defence showed a cavalier attitude toward the offences.

“I’m very concerned about the risk Mr. Seangio continues to pose to young girls in the community.”

The trial evidence

During the trial, Baragar told the court in his final submissions that while no one identified Seangio as the driver of the vehicle, the facts lead to the conclusion in multiple instances that he was driving the vehicle in question.

He said victims got partial or full licence plate numbers, that video cameras caught images of his car, that the sexual behaviour of the driver was the same in each instance and that the vehicle sped away when some victims or police officers attempted to see the driver.

In each case, Baragar said, the vehicle would approach slowly with the passenger side near the victim. 

Baragar said cellphone records put Seangio’s phone in the area of the incidents at the time they occurred just as video surveillance caught his vehicle.

The Crown lawyer told the court a police officer in an undercover operation saw similar behaviour from the SUV driver.

The court heard police followed Seangio as he left the Richmond detachment for Vancouver, on March 7, 2019.

The defence

Orris told the court July 4 his client “has not been involved in any illegal act.”

Orris told the jury before Seangio was sworn in to testify that his client was not picked out of photo lineups shown to complainants. Once Seangio took the stand, Orris asked, “Have you ever exposed yourself or masturbated while in your car?”

“No, I have not,” Seangio said.

Seangio was employed with the Richmond RCMP detachment and also worked for military police reserves out of Richmond’s Colonel Sherman Armoury. He lost both those positions, Orris said.