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Cop, girlfriend lived it up on treatment centre money court hears

Woman testifies she and Elliot Lake OPP officer used money to buy trips, vehicles. She also described violent assaults at the officer's hands.
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this Village Media file photo.

SAULT STE. MARIE - Vacations in Las Vegas and Jamaica, shopping trips to Toronto and the United States, a car, an off-road vehicle, firearms including two pink cammo shot guns, kayaks, golf clubs and sporting equipment.

That's what happened to tens of thousands of dollars a woman testified this week she and her onetime boyfriend, an Elliot Lake Ontario Provincial Police officer, stole from her former employer, a Blind River treatment centre.

Karen Querat, who pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 in Elliot Lake in August 2014, was the first Crown witness to take the stand Tuesday at the officer's trial in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom.

Glenn McLean pleaded not guilty to 26 charges, ranging from stealing a breathalyzer machine and gas from the OPP, frauds and thefts from the Anishnabie Naadmaagi Gamig Substance Abuse Treatment Centre, and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, to assault causing bodily harm, threatening, pointing a firearm, and numerous counts of assault, all involving the woman.

The offences are alleged to have occurred between December 2011 and November 2013.

McLean is suspended from his job with pay, his lawyer Bruce Willson said outside the courtroom.

Superior Court Justice Michael Varpio heard Querat, 39, a bookkeeper at the treatment centre, had stolen $20,000 from her employer by writing herself extra pay cheques between August 2012 and January 2013, prior to meeting McLean on January 29, 2013.

"My intention was to borrow the money and pay it back a little at the time," she told Timmins assistant Crown attorney Wayne O'Hanley, who is prosecuting the case.

Querat received a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be served in the community following her fraud conviction in 2014.

She acknowledged taking $130,000 from the treatment centre and was ordered to make $117,000 restitution.

The $130,000 included the $20,000 she stole before meeting Mclean.

On Tuesday, her first day of testimony at the officer's trial, she said she met McLean, who she knew was a police officer, on Facebook, and the couple, both of whom were newly separated, started dating.

Querat testified that she told McLean what she was doing at work when they were discussing going to Vegas, a trip "neither of us could afford."

McLean asked how she could afford her townhouse and "I said I've had to borrow pay advances from my work to get by," she told the court.

When he asked can you really do that as a bookkeeper, she said she explained about problems at the centre where she had no supervision.

"He didn't express any concerns" about her borrowing the money, Querat said.

The next day "he pleaded with me," convinced her he could repay his share of the trip costs and booked the $2,300 trip on his credit card so he could collect points, she said.

Querat said she found a method at work to transfer funds to his Visa card.

The couple bought her a $14,081 car in March 2013 and purchased a $15,486 Polaris side-by-side vehicle in April of that year, using her work credit card, she testified.
Both vehicles were put in McLean's name for insurance purposes - because he could get lower insurance rates through the police association, the woman said.

McLean told her "Don't worry" that he could protect her when she expressed her concerns about the money, she said.

"He made me feel good. He told me how powerful he was in policing."

Querat said she eventually moved in with McLean and that's when they started arguing a lot and the violence began.

"He became more aggressive, controlling."

On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, she detailed the abuse she said she suffered during their relationship, which ended in November 2013.

The first assault occurred shortly after she moved in, when during an argument, he grabbed her by the back of her hair and

"whipped me" down the basement stairs, and dragged her into a bedroom, she said.

"He was angry. His eyes changed. His face was red. He was very powerful," Querat said.

"I was stunned and shocked," she told O'Hanley. "He'd assaulted me. We were in love and it was the first time he crossed this line."

Another time, when they were drinking and arguing, she said he pulled a lawn chair out from under her in a garage and she fell to the cement floor, bruising her tail bone.

She described other incidents where McLean struck the top of her head with his knuckles so there would be no visible injuries, aimed a gun at her head, and threatened to kill her.

"I was petrified. He was in a trance and the gun could go off at any time."

Querat testified that McLean, who had a trap line, repeatedly told her he could get rid of a body by putting it in a "beaver house" where the beavers would eat it and there would be no evidence left.

Despite these attacks, Querat said she was prepared to stay with him.

"I had to. We were stealing money and he was protecting me."

A few weeks before they broke up, they became embroiled in an argument at his hunt camp near Chapleau, she said.

McLean was hitting her on the top of her head, and as she was flailing her arms around to protect herself, she struck him, breaking his nose, she said.

As she tried to run out of the cabin, he grabbed the back of her neck and ran her body and face up against the door frame, the witness said.

"Then he threw me out the door and I landed under his truck."

McLean kicked and punched her, telling her "I'm going to kill you, you broke my nose," she said.

Only wearing flip flops, underwear and a tank top, the five-foot-two, 115-pound woman said she ran into the bush during what she described as Chapleau's first snowfall that autumn.

Querat said she hid in the bush as McLean searched for her on his four-wheeler, and then became lost as she tried to make her way back to the road, where she waited for 40 minutes for a vehicle. 

"I actually thought I'd freeze to death."

When a truck approached she said she put out her thumb for a ride and "it was Glenn."

He told her to get in, but "I refused. He said he was going to kill me and put me in a beaver house."

She said she realized he was returning to Elliot Lake and she could go back to the cabin.

Later, at the hospital, she told police the pair had been injured after they got stuck in a snare on the trap line and toppled over.

She was later charged with assaulting McLean.

Querat told the court McLean also attacked her, split open her head and threatened to "beat me to a pulp," when they argued during a trip to Toronto for a Bon Jovi concert.

Willson will cross examine Querat Thursday.

- Linda Richardson for SooToday