Retired Lt. Gen. under police probe leaves for Ukraine war
‘I FIND IT SHOCKING’
A retired Canadian Forces lieutenant-general under police investigation for alleged sexual misconduct is now in Ukraine.
Trevor Cadieu left the Canadian military on April 5, according to the Department of National Defence.
He travelled to Ukraine shortly after with the intention of volunteering for that country’s military as it attempts to fend off the Russian invasion, multiple defence sources confirmed.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which is investigating Cadieu, originally had difficulty contacting the retired lieutenant-general but has since established communication with him.
Senior Canadian military leaders were briefed about Cadieu’s decision to travel to Ukraine, according to sources.
Cadieu did not respond to requests for comment.
His alleged victim said she cannot believe that a person under investigation was allowed to leave the country.
“I find it shocking,” the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said Thursday. “What is going on here?”
She alleged the Canadian Forces hid Cadieu’s retirement from the public. The CBC broke the news of his retirement on Wednesday.
Cadieu, in a statement to the CBC, portrayed his decision as being for the best.
“I have opted to release (from the Canadian military) and am exploring other opportunities to contribute to the greater good,” he said.
DND has yet to comment on Cadieu’s decision to travel to Ukraine.
Cadieu was to have taken over command of the Canadian Army last September but that was derailed after military police began a probe into what they termed “historical allegations.”
The investigation centres around his and another officer’s alleged actions at the Royal Military College in 1994. Cadieu has denied any wrongdoing.
Cadieu is a popular army officer and the investigation has prompted social media comments of support for him.
In contrast, his alleged victim has faced comments posted online about her mental state and her alleged motives. Similar comments have been made during official meetings at the Department of National Defence headquarters, multiple defence sources said.
The woman, a former Canadian Forces member, said she is still trying to deal with the “institutional betrayal” she has faced from the Forces and DND. She pointed out that DND and the military distributed Cadieu’s statement to national news outlets in which he denied any wrongdoing. She took that as the military and DND leadership officially indicating their support for the lieutenant-general despite the ongoing investigation.
In a July 11, 2021, email to his alleged victim, Cadieu acknowledged the harm he had caused her. Cadieu wrote that Chief of the Defence Staff Wayne Eyre had been informed by other officers about the victim’s allegations.
“The CDS can’t ignore what he’s been told,” Cadieu wrote to the woman. “Naturally, as painful as it is to write this, the CDS needs to makes (sic) decisions about my ability to continue to serve.”
Cadieu asked the woman if she would be willing to meet him in what he called a “facilitated engagement.”
“I’m not looking to challenge your claim,” Cadieu wrote to the woman. “It would allow me to acknowledge what you’ve endured and any harm I’ve caused in your life.”
In a previous interview, the alleged victim said she had been trying to move on with her life and originally had no intention to go to military police.
But when she received the unsolicited messages from Cadieu and from another officer questioning what she intended to do about the allegations, she said she felt bullied and decided to contact an official in Eyre’s office. She said she spoke to an official in Eyre’s office in a phone call that lasted several hours on July 14. The woman said her intention at that time was not to file a formal complaint against Cadieu but to raise concerns about the officer since he was being considered as the new army commander.
The alleged victim later learned that Eyre was proceeding anyway to install Cadieu as the new head of the army. As a result, the woman went to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service on Sept. 4, 2021 to file a complaint against Cadieu.
The Canadian Forces and DND insist that Eyre was never informed of any issues about Cadieu until his meeting with military police in September. Once he was told of the allegations on Sept. 5, Eyre acted immediately, according to the DND.
Last year, the Ottawa Citizen asked Cadieu to comment on his July 11 message to the alleged victim in which he informed her the chief of the defence chief had been told of the allegations. In addition, Cadieu was asked to comment on his message to the alleged victim that he had no intention of challenging her claim.
Cadieu responded that “the information in your email to me contains inaccuracies and, to the best of my knowledge, is unrelated to the allegation that the NIS is investigating, which I learned about on Sept. 5, 2021. At this time, it is important for all involved to respect the investigative procedures and allow due process to occur.”
Foreign volunteers have flocked to Ukraine to help that country battle invading Russian forces. Ukraine has limited its acceptance of personnel to those with military experience.
Cadieu deployed to Bosnia in 1997 as well as Afghanistan in 2002 and 2006-07.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has warned that any Canadian fighting for Russia will face severe consequences.
But the Liberal government has allowed Ukraine to actively recruit retired military personnel. Defence Minister Anita Anand has said the government views it as a personal choice if a Canadian wants to fight for Ukraine. But she has noted the situation in Ukraine is extremely dangerous.
“It is certainly their own individual decision as to whether they wish to do so,” said Anand. “My responsibility, our responsibility as the Canadian government, is to make sure everyone knows that the situation in Ukraine is extremely dangerous, extremely concerning and that’s the information we are providing.”
Russia has labelled such volunteers as mercenaries. It has captured a number of foreign soldiers but it is unclear what will become of those individuals.