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RCMP Sgt. Donald Ray in an undated photo.
Canada - You have to ask whether the RCMP has learned anything from the years of adverse publicity that has damaged the iconic force's reputation with Canadians.

Fatal misuse of Tasers, questionable in-custody deaths, botched major investigations such as Air India, a looming sexual-harassment lawsuit by a former member.

And now, with all that on the table, the RCMP admits a senior Alberta Mountie disciplined for sexual misconduct and drinking on the job is not being dismissed. Instead, he's being transferred from Edmonton to British Columbia, where trust in the RCMP could hardly be lower.

Donald Ray was a staff sergeant in Edmonton's K-Division behavioural sciences unit, in charge of its polygraph unit, when he was accused of disgraceful conduct.

The Ottawa Citizen obtained documents from Ray's internal disciplinary hearing.

An investigation revealed Ray was hosting after-hours parties in his office, which included a well-stocked bar fridge. He would ply female subordinates with liquor and make sexual advances. He encouraged one woman to touch his penis and had sex with another in the room where lie-detector tests were conducted.

For that and other inappropriate behaviour with the women he worked with, an RCMP adjudication board that met last November did not fire Ray.

Instead, he was demoted from staff sergeant down to sergeant, docked 10 days pay and ordered transferred out of the Mounties' Alberta headquarters.

This despite senior officers at national headquarters in Ottawa saying the pattern of Ray's behaviour was so disturbing that it would take "considerable effort to rebuild the damaged trust of our organization," the Citizen reported.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson conceded as much in an email exchange with Postmedia News.

"If I could change this case I would, I cannot," Paulson said. "What I can do is make sure that we get a system where this sort of frustration is eliminated.

The board apparently decided against firing Ray because he expressed regret and remorse for his actions and received strong letters of support from colleagues.

But even under existing rules, what does it take to get fired?

"It's 2012, not 1912," the Vancouver Province said in an editorial blog post. "There are few workplaces in Canada where Ray's conduct wouldn't have resulted in his near-instant dismissal.

"If the Mounties really are serious about stopping conduct like Ray's, too common in their ranks, they need to start firing the offenders."

Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, in charge of B.C. Mounties, said he agreed to accept Ray's transfer to the province but promised he would be closely monitored and would be fired if he stepped out of line again.

But former RCMP constable Krista Carle told Postmedia it shows the "old boys' culture" is alive and well within the force.

"To transfer him to another province is utterly shameful," said Krista, one of the first women to speak out publicly last year about sex-harassment allegations in the RCMP. "He should be encouraged to retire or forcibly removed from duty."

Paulson promised to crack down on "outrageous" conduct within the force, some of it criminal, but Carle said the decision in Ray's case shows little has changed.

"I really thought, 'Maybe they'll get the big picture,' " Carle said.

But Paulson said Ray's disciplinary process was already underway when he was appointed commissioner and he could overrule the board's decision.

Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons called the penalty absurd.

"The Mountie's failure to take sexual misconduct seriously is hardly unique to Edmonton," she wrote. "In the wake of very high-profile complaints from female officers in B.C., more than 200 women have joined a pending class-action lawsuit against the force, alleging endemic sexual harassment, effectively condoned by the macho RCMP management culture."

The best known case involves Corporal Catherine Galliford, a high-profile media officer with the B.C. Mounties now on indefinite sick leave.

Galliford, the face of the force for major cases such as the Air India bombing and serial killer Robert Pickton, alleges she was subject to years of sexual harassment and even physical assault, CBC News reported earlier this month.

The RCMP said its professional standards unit is investigating the allegations Galliford made in her statement of claim.