MIL­I­TARY OF­FI­CER CHARGED.

Montreal Gazette - - NP - LEE BERTHIAUME

• A se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cer has been charged with sex­u­ally as­sault­ing two other ser­vice mem­bers while he was com­man­der of a Que­bec-based ar­tillery unit three years ago.

The Cana­dian Forces Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Ser­vice said Mon­day that the ser­vice mem­bers were al­legedly as­saulted in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents at CFB Val­cartier be­tween Septem­ber and De­cem­ber 2014.

Col. Jean-François Du­val, a 29-year vet­eran of the Forces who was com­man­der of the 5th Cana­dian Light Ar­tillery Reg­i­ment at the time of the al­leged at­tacks, has been charged with two counts of sex­ual as­sault.

Navy Lt. Blake Pat­ter­son, a mil­i­tary po­lice spokesman, would not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails Mon­day about the al­leged in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Du­val and the two ser­vice mem­bers.

But de­fence of­fi­cials con­firmed that he is the high­es­trank­ing of­fi­cer to be charged with sex­ual as­sault since Gen. Jonathan Vance or­dered an im­me­di­ate end to all sex­ual mis­con­duct in the mil­i­tary in Au­gust 2015.

“Rank has no mean­ing for this,” De­fence Min­is­ter Har­jit Sa­j­jan said Mon­day of the mil­i­tary’s com­mit­ment to elim­i­nat­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual be­hav­iour.

“We’ll be work­ing ex­tremely ag­gres­sively as we move for­ward. And we want any­body in the Cana­dian Armed Forces, if they’ve been af­fected, to come for­ward, so that we can in­ves­ti­gate and take se­ri­ous ac­tion on this.”

Du­val has also been charged with one count of in­de­cent acts, two counts of scan­dalous con­duct, and two counts of dis­grace­ful con­duct in re­la­tion to two al­leged in­ci­dents in­volv­ing the same ser­vice mem­bers.

One of the in­ci­dents oc­curred at CFB Val­cartier be­tween 2009 and 2010, of­fi­cials said, and the sec­ond was be­tween Septem­ber and De­cem­ber 2014, but oth­er­wise would not pro­vide more de­tail.

Du­val has also been charged with three counts of prej­u­dic­ing good or­der and dis­ci­pline in re­la­tion to three al­leged in­ci­dents in­volv­ing dif­fer­ent in­di­vid­u­als at CFB Val­cartier and CFB Gage­town be­tween 2005 and 2014.

De­fence of­fi­cials said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which is now pro­ceed­ing through the mil­i­tary jus­tice sys­tem, was launched last year when in­for­ma­tion about the al­leged in­ci­dents arose in a sep­a­rate case.

Du­val has spent the past five months in Kingston, Ont., where he has served in a se­nior po­si­tion with the Cana­dian De­fence Academy, which is re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing all mil­i­tary train­ing.

Fol­low­ing news of the charges, Rear Ad­mi­ral Luc Cas­sivi, com­man­der of the academy, said Du­val was be­ing re­lieved of his du­ties as direc­tor of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment.

“He will be em­ployed un­der my di­rect su­per­vi­sion with no lead­er­ship and su­per­vi­sory du­ties un­til the case is dis­posed of in court,” Cas­sivi said in a state­ment.

Mil­i­tary com­man­ders have promised to crack down on sex­ual mis­con­duct in the ranks since re­tired Supreme Court jus­tice Marie Deschamps re­ported in April 2015 that she had found an “un­der­ly­ing sex­ual cul­ture” in the mil­i­tary.

Mil­i­tary po­lice re­ported ear­lier this month that they launched more than 200 in­ves­ti­ga­tions into al­leged sex-re­lated crimes last year, which rep­re­sented a dra­matic in­crease from the 119 ini­ti­ated in 2014.

Col. Jean-Fran­cois Du­val

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