Anastasia Boldireff filed a complaint in 2020 against the two officers who helped her file a report after she was stalked.
A legal-size clipboard, a pen and a rickety chair next to the door. That is all Anastasia Boldireff said she was given to write her report at Montreal police station 20 in 2019 after being stalked. For almost two hours, she wrote her report, trying hard to recall the events, balancing her clipboard on her lap.
Last week, Boldireff stood in front of the Police Ethics Committee and testified against the police officer who took her report, Officer Kevin Jacob, and his supervisor, Sergeant Martin Bouchard.
Adamo Bono first approached Boldireff on St-Catherine St., as she was heading to school—Boldireff is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. He started following her and asking her out, even after she repeatedly told him she was not interested. This was on Oct. 25, 2019.
On Nov. 5, 2019, she saw him outside a coffee shop where she was meeting a friend, he followed her, and he refused to leave until she gave him her number. Bono knew her name and personal details about her life. Boldireff saw Bono again, standing in the EV building on Nov. 11, 2019, as she was headed to an evening class.
On Nov. 7, 2019, two days after the coffee shop interaction, Boldireff decided to go to the police. She went to Police Station 20, where, according to her, the officer told her he was busy and that she could come back later.
Boldireff decided to turn to Concordia security. She filed a report with a security agent, who then offered to return to the police station together and give an officer the report.
The same officer Boldireff had spoken to previously, Officer Kevin Jacob, was still there. Jacob asked the security agent to leave and told Boldireff that she would have to file another report.
Boldireff spent two hours filing this second report. She gave Jacob her stalker’s phone number, and Jacob looked it up. “The entire expression on his face changed,” Boldireff said. “And I said: ‘He’s in the system, isn’t he?’”
Jacob confirmed that he was, but did not give her any more information.
Bono had sexually assaulted two victims in 2016 and 2017. Boldireff would not learn that information, nor her stalker’s full name, until days later, when another officer accidentally handed her a laptop on which Bono’s file was open.
At this point, according to Boldireff, Jacob left to get his supervisor, Sergeant Martin Bouchard. Bouchard asked Boldireff to describe her stalker. Boldireff remembers describing him as around six feet tall, Middle Eastern but pale, lanky, built like a soccer player.
“He [Bouchard] says: ‘Oh, sounds like a good looking man. A soccer player, you say? Why don’t you go on a date with him?’ He had his arms crossed, he was leaning back, and he laughed,” Boldireff recalled.
“I remember just being shocked,” said Boldireff. Later, she asked for a ride home, as she felt unsafe walking alone. The officers told her they could not provide one. When she asked about the next steps, she said the officers advised her to watch what she was wearing.
As she left the station, she said Jacob told her: “I’m sure being an attractive woman like you gets you into trouble.”
The two officers have denied making these comments.
After these incidents, Boldireff did not feel safe in the city. She left the province and, eventually, the country. In April 2022, Bono pled guilty to harassment and was sentenced to two years of treatment in a mental health facility.
In March 2020, Boldireff filed a complaint against Jacob and Bouchard. She said they were “dismissive, condescending, and inappropriate,” and she suffered from systemic sexism, according to a later complaint to the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission.
Last Wednesday, Boldireff recounted her story in a hearing in front of the Police Ethics Committee. She then answered the defense attorney’s cross-examination as even the smallest inaccuracy in her story was brought forward and criticized.
Boldireff denounced the fact that she had to stay standing for her whole testimony, which took the better part of the day. The way the room was set up meant her family, who attended the hearing to support her, was outside her field of vision.
On Thursday and Friday, Boldireff sat in the audience as the testimonies continued. Most of the legal proceedings were in French, a language Boldireff is not completely fluent in. “It felt like the worst language exam,” she said, adding that it made her feel confused and frustrated.
“It makes all the sense in the world to me, given my experience in the last three days, of first having felt like it was a psychological stoning and it ending with me listening in silence, unable to contribute… It makes sense to me why so few women, so few victims of sexual violence, would come forward with complaints,” she said.
She highlighted how grateful she is to the Police Ethics Commissioner for helping and believing in her, and to the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) for helping her throughout the process.
Boldireff had some words of advice for other people who might experience what she went through. According to her, having a strong support network is vital, including seeking help from organizations who know the bureaucracy of filing reports and complaints. During the hearing, Boldireff was accompanied by family members as well as a massage therapist, who helped her relax during the breaks in her testimony.
She also advised victims not to post on social media and to be careful with the messages they send, as posts and messages can be used as proof in an eventual legal case.
Boldireff carries around a notebook, which she uses to remember everything that has happened to her in relation to her case for the past four years. On one side, she writes the facts. On the other, she writes her thoughts and feelings. She advised other victims to do the same.
“A lot of the time, […] when you’re victimized, you feel like it’s in your head. Or you feel like it’s not happening to you. You know, ‘Just walk it off’ kind of thing. Like, ‘Oh, that was just a bad day, a bad moment,’” said Boldireff. “I would say that you’re not alone, and reach out to the services that are there to support you, and to your friends and family.”
The decision of the hearing has not yet been announced.