VANCOUVER -- A new element has been introduced into a controversy that set off an RCMP code-of-conduct investigation launched after "graphic, staged photos" of an officer were posted on the Internet.

The identity of the man in some of the pictures circulating through the media has been questioned.

Reive Doig, of Erotica Vancouver Magazine, an online website, said Friday that he knows the man in some of the more explicit pictures, and that man isn't an RCMP officer.

The Mounties have not identified the officer being investigated, but published reports have said Cpl. Jim Brown is the subject of pictures referenced in the media which show sexually explicit scenes.

Nothing the man wears appears to connect him to the RCMP, although he does wear a pair of tall, lace-up boots in some images.

Doig refused to name the person in the pictures who he said wasn't an officer, and said the man didn't want to come forward.

"His lawyer said if he gave one interview, he'd have to give many," Doig said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Doig said other pictures of a kilted man in what appears to be RCMP boots may indeed be of the officer under investigation, but he knows that a staged picture of a man holding a knife to a naked woman's throat is not of the Mountie.

"The most disturbing images aren't of the corporal," he added.

Assistant Commissioner Randy Beck, acting commanding officer of the B.C. RCMP, confirmed Thursday that the force has launched an investigation into the officer's actions, which will be led by the Richmond, B.C., RCMP.

"In keeping with the RCMP's commitment to hold our members to a higher standard, I am taking the unusual step of asking an external police agency to independently review our internal code-of-conduct investigation," Beck said in a statement.

Beck didn't say which independent police agency would later review the code-of-conduct investigation.

The officer in charge of the Coquitlam detachment, where the Mountie under investigation is based, was aware of the pictures as far back as December, 2010, but at the time believed the pictures existed only on the man's personal flash drive, Beck said.

After consultation, he did not believe it met the threshold for a code-of-conduct violation, Beck said.

"While we must strike a balance between an individual's rights and freedoms when off duty and the RCMP code of conduct, I am personally embarrassed and very disappointed that the RCMP would be, in any way, linked to photos of that nature."

Police have said that the officer is currently on administrative duties.

RCMP refused to make further comment on the officer's case, saying "until the investigation is complete and the facts are know, it is inappropriate for anyone to speculate."

Brown could not be reached by The Canadian Press, but The Vancouver Sun has reported that Brown commented in a telephone call: "I am familiar with an internal investigation that was conducted."

The newspaper also reported Brown as saying, "it concluded in March or April and it was decided it was a non-issue ... There was no victim."