Rebecca McLeod: Male cop who accused lesbian colleague of sexually touching ‘predator’

Rebecca McLeod: Male cop who accused lesbian colleague of sexually touching 'predator'

A male police officer who claimed he was ‘sexually touched’ by a female officer was deemed a ‘high risk’ predator of women by his superiors.

Sergeant Rebecca Ann McLeod, 44, of Croydon, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday after being accused of sexually touching a colleague while on duty.

The court heard that while McLeod was hailed by her Victoria Police superiors as a ‘champion of female policing’, her male accuser was considered a serious risk to women’s safety by force command.

Sergeant Rebecca Ann McLeod (pictured) has been accused of ‘sexually touching’ a male officer who was considered a ‘high-risk predator’ of women by his superiors.

Sergeant Rebecca Ann McLeod (pictured) is defending a ‘sexually touching’ allegation

McLeod was charged with intentionally sexually touching and unlawfully assaulting a colleague in the mess room of Victoria Police’s Docklands office on September 30, 2021.

Detective Inspector Warren Chapman told the court McLeod’s alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told him she ‘felt uncomfortable’ after McLeod’s hand brushed over his penis during a spontaneous embrace.

The dedicated officer, who has been a policeman for 27 years, was called in court as a prosecution witness.

Inspector Chapman told the court he was surprised when the alleged victim later reported McLeod, who is a lesbian, to his professional standards command – Victoria Police’s internal surveillance.

Inspector Chapman told the court he believed McLeod to be a ‘brutally honest’ police officer who set an example to other officers with his performance.

‘The leadership team saw Beck as one of our leaders in policing girls. She was well respected, took several courses, was supported to upgrade to other work units, took the lead in the field of women’s issues. She basically championed women policing,’ she said.

Inspector Chapman said he believed the victim’s claims to him were ‘very little of sexual harassment or harassment’ but had worked to resolve the matter between the pair.

He noted that the alleged victim had previously been the subject of allegations of sexual harassment, including allegations of ‘predatory behaviour’.

Sergeant Rebecca Anne McLeod (second from right) is defended by barrister Geoffrey Steward (far left).

Sergeant Rebecca Ann McLeod is an inspiration to female police officers

The court heard that the alleged victim had been identified by force command as a ‘high risk’ to women even before his own complaint.

Inspector Chapman told the court, ‘I was given a file by one of my inspectors who identified him as a risk to the organization in terms of predatory behavior against women.’

‘There [were] A number or source report that was attached to that file and I was asked to come up with an action plan that would not reveal the identity of those sources, but would do some way to reduce the risk of some of the behavior that was described.’

That behavior included approaches by the alleged victim to other female officers where ‘they felt uncomfortable in her presence’, the court heard.

Inspector Chapman said he had spoken to the alleged victim earlier in an attempt to drill home what was expected of him as a police officer.

I described [to him] Some of the behaviors that were reported, and I guess the impact of those behaviors on the women that some of our members felt in the office,’ she said.

‘In terms of a response from her, I don’t recall any admissions other than that she was present when describing their behavior and influence on other women in the office.’

Inspector Chapman agreed that the man’s behavior around women was deemed so serious by the enforcement order that it required him to attend courses to deal with his behaviour.

‘One of the considerations was around that education part and training,’ he said.

Sergeant Rebecca Ann McLeod was charged following an internal police investigation

The court heard that the alleged victim only wanted Inspector Chapman to make a note of her complaint, but at the instigation of another officer took the matter to the internal police.

That officer, Acting Sergeant Adam Biederman, told the court he believed Inspector Chapman failed to deal appropriately with the alleged victim’s allegations.

‘I said [the alleged victim] He should have reported the matter to the PSC and the inspector should have done so immediately,’ Sergeant Biederman said in his statement to internal police.

‘I think if a woman had reported the matter, it would have been reported directly to the PSC.’

Sergeant Biederman added that he preferred not to work around McLeod for fear he might attack him as well.

‘I feel uncomfortable working with Sergeant McLeod. I don’t want him to think it’s okay to treat members like that and I don’t want it to happen to me,’ he told police.

McLeod’s barrister Geoffrey Steward slammed the officer, accusing him of ‘pre-judging’ his client.

‘My opinion at the time was based on information I was told by a colleague and I don’t think anyone would feel comfortable working in an environment where someone has allegedly done what Beck has done,’ Sgt Biederman told the court.

The hearing continued before Magistrate Johanna Metcalfe.


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