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Sexual Misconduct Allegations in The CAF

Eye In The Sky

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On October 2, 2022, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) relieved the Executive Officer of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Kingston of her duties as a result of an alleged incident of inappropriate conduct of a sexualized nature that took place during a port visit in Lisbon, Portugal, while deployed on Operation REASSURANCE. The allegations have not been proven and an investigation into this incident is ongoing.
 

Halifax Tar

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Again, the presumption of innocence is paramount for the criminal justice system. I am not the criminal justice system.

I am not going to engage in the dog pile or scuffle going on @btrudy, in this area we generally see the world through the same glasses.

But I want to propose something to you. You absolutely are the criminal justice system (CJS). The CJS only exists so long as the citizenry allows and generally abides by it. It represents you and every other Canadian. And it was created by and is adjusted by every Canadian, through or governmental processes.

Not that I think you need to be an expert, but I do think you and I and every other Canadian are a part of it.
 

lenaitch

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This case is why I don't believe that the MPs or CFNIS should have the power to lay charges. We should align with what is practice in the civilian arena where the Crown prosecutor's office decides.

To quote from Law & Order: In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders.
That protocol is only in place in, I believe, Quebec and BC. And it is just a protocol - the Criminal Code says otherwise.
 

ModlrMike

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Then I stand corrected, but maintain my stance regarding the MPs and CFNIS.
 

captloadie

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This is an example of a case that will always be divisive. There will be friends and family of the Major who will believe he was innocent and the system is to blame for him taking his life. There will be friends and family of the victim who will believe her, and think either his death was what he deserved, or that he took the easy way out and won't have to face the consequences of his actions.

There will be members on this forum who will be "triggered" and see this as another troubled CAF member who sadly resorted to suicide. There will be others who are "triggered" and see this as another example of the old boys club trying to make excuses for a rampant problem within the CAF.

We will all have our opinions, and we should be free to express them here, within reason. We should all try to be a little less defensive about when someone disagrees with our opinion, because at the end of the day, it is still only our opinion, whether it is backed up by facts, experience, or personal beliefs.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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This is an example of a case that will always be divisive. There will be friends and family of the Major who will believe he was innocent and the system is to blame for him taking his life. There will be friends and family of the victim who will believe her, and think either his death was what he deserved, or that he took the easy way out and won't have to face the consequences of his actions.

There will be members on this forum who will be "triggered" and see this as another troubled CAF member who sadly resorted to suicide. There will be others who are "triggered" and see this as another example of the old boys club trying to make excuses for a rampant problem within the CAF.

We will all have our opinions, and we should be free to express them here, within reason. We should all try to be a little less defensive about when someone disagrees with our opinion, because at the end of the day, it is still only our opinion, whether it is backed up by facts, experience, or personal beliefs.
Here Here!

I do like how many times you used the word triggered! Everyone is triggered by everything these days!
 

Humphrey Bogart

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I'm triggered by the fact that you just made an assumption about me.
I'm triggered you're assuming I made an assumption about you!
Trigger Reaction GIF by MOODMAN
 

daftandbarmy

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I am triggered by all the triggers people have for no good reason other than they are P&SSIES>

Coincidentally, I came across this recently:

Death Knell for Trigger Warnings?​


A new study says trigger warnings are useless. Does that mean they should be abandoned?


Trigger warnings don’t help students, and they might even hurt those grappling with serious trauma. That’s the upshot of a new study on trigger warnings published in Clinical Psychological Science.

Concerned about the use of trigger warnings absent clear evidence of their effectiveness, the authors conducted a series of experiments on 1,394 people, a mix of first-year psychology students at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand and internet users. They wanted to know to what extent trigger warnings affect people's ratings of negative material and their symptoms of distress, namely "negative affect," intrusive thoughts and avoidance.

Subjects either watched or read content on topics from car accidents to domestic violence (content involving sexual violence was not part of the experiment -- more on that later). Some got trigger warnings about what was ahead, while others did not. Some reported experiencing traumatic events, such as a "really bad car" or other accident, or domestic abuse.

Afterward, subjects rated their negative emotional states, and the degree to which they experienced intrusive thoughts and tried to avoid thinking about the content. Some subjects were tested on their reading comprehension abilities following exposure to sensitive content.

A “mini meta-analysis” of the experiments revealed that trigger warnings didn’t make any difference. Subjects who saw them, compared with those who did not, judged the videos to be similarly negative, felt similarly negative, experienced similarly frequent intrusive thoughts and avoidance, and comprehended subsequent material similarly well.

By some measures, there was a slight helpful effect for trigger warnings. But the authors say that it was essentially insignificant, was "minuscule" compared to the effects of actual therapy and was possibly influenced by a placebo-like effect of seeing a trigger warning (trigger warnings are not supposed to be a substitute for therapy, of course, the article says). It's worth noting that a very small number of students withdrew from the experiment after seeing a trigger warning. And the existing psychological literature on traumatic stress suggests that avoidance is a coping mechanism that maintains the traumatic stress.

The study notes several limitations: researchers did not specifically recruit people with a history of psychopathology and did not ask about subjects’ socioeconomic status or education level. Plus, they say, trigger warnings “may have nontrivial effects we did not measure,” such as the vividness of intrusions -- not just frequency.

What does it all mean? The authors explore this, writing, “Some might wonder if professors should continue to issue trigger warnings. After all, if the warnings do not worsen distress and students believe the warnings are helpful, then why not?”

Ultimately, however, the authors are against trigger warnings. “Put simply,” they say, “people are not always good judges of the effects interventions have on themselves or others and the chronic effects of trigger warnings may be different from their acute effects. College students are increasingly anxious, and widespread adoption of trigger warnings in syllabi may promote this trend, tacitly encouraging students to turn to avoidance, thereby depriving them of opportunities to learn healthier ways to manage potential distress.”

Lead author Mevagh Sanson, a postdoctoral research fellow in psychology at New Zealand’s University of Waikato, didn’t equivocate Wednesday via email.

“Trigger warnings don’t help,” she said. “And they may still hurt -- the long-term consequences of avoidance have been addressed in related areas, and so we know that encouraging avoidance helps to maintain disorders such as PTSD.”

 

Eaglelord17

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There is many problems with sexual assault cases in this country. I would say it is one of the lowest prosecuted crimes in comparison to how much actually happens and has a fairly low conviction rate.

The reason for this is because it usually turns into a he said she said situation. Very rarely is there much physical evidence, the 'classic' rape situation (i.e. some random grabs and rapes a woman or man) very rarely happens. Usually it is between people who were dating or some other type of relationship and someone crosses a line, people were drunk, etc.

Statements are often taken years later as the victim usually doesn't want to come forward immediately. Having gone through the process myself, the biggest reason it took until 2015 for any change to our system was because of the way our system works. The people committing these crimes are your coworkers. Not just that these are the people you expect to have your back and potentially kill people with. The level of trust that is broken there is huge and creates huge stigmas to reporting. 'Don't blade your buddy'. Many will claim there was no problem in the CAF, but it all depended on where you were. The type of behavior which should never have been tolerated in the first place stopped immediately once Op Honour started.

Unfortunately because it is often a he said she said thing and the requirement is to prove guilt, many guilty people get off scot free because of the lack of evidence, not because the crime wasn't committed. Having read a good amount of CAF court martial summaries for sexual assault, there have been more than a few cases where the judge ruled not guilty but not because they didn't think anything happened. Rather nothing was conclusively proven.

ex. ON TARGET: Soldier alleges he faced reprisals for helping female colleague — espritdecorps There is a quote from another article on the same case which I shall include here but cannot include the link to due to army.ca's policies (specific writer) "In his ruling, the judge stated that clearly something happened at the base but the prosecutor had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt there had been a sexual assault or disgraceful conduct."

This is why I like not proven instead of not guilty. Allow the judge to make the decision on which to use. Not guilty if the evidence overwhelmingly exonerates the accused. 'Not proven' if on a balance of probabilities they did what they were accused of but there wasn't enough evidence to convict them. Then use the not proven verdict to allow them to get kicked out of the military because we don't need those types of people in our ranks.
 

Jarnhamar

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This is why I like not proven instead of not guilty. Allow the judge to make the decision on which to use. Not guilty if the evidence overwhelmingly exonerates the accused. 'Not proven' if on a balance of probabilities they did what they were accused of but there wasn't enough evidence to convict them. Then use the not proven verdict to allow them to get kicked out of the military because we don't need those types of people in our ranks.

After everything you've seen from our peers and senior leadership do you really trust the military to have the power to kick people out even after the court not having enough evidence to discipline them?

We dont have any evidence but we still think you're guilty so you're out.

I understand the spirit of what you're saying here but man oh man would that get abused.
 

Eaglelord17

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After everything you've seen from our peers and senior leadership do you really trust the military to have the power to kick people out even after the court not having enough evidence to discipline them?

We dont have any evidence but we still think you're guilty so you're out.

I understand the spirit of what you're saying here but man oh man would that get abused.
Not enough evidence to convict them, very different that not having any evidence.

Again allow the judge to use a balance of probabilities for determining which title to apply. This is a legal standard for civil cases and most companies terminate people over a balance of probabilities so it actually isn’t anything new for the vast majority of Canadians.

We are willing to dismiss people for simply not getting a injection which is their charter right to refuse. If a judge has enough evidence to say they likely committed sexual assault but we can’t 100% prove it, thats all I need to see them evicted from the ranks.
 

Eye In The Sky

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We have admin processes that can see people released, but the CAF doesn’t use the bare balance of probabilities, or shouldn’t, if we follow our own Mil Admin Law.
 

Brad Sallows

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Setting "overwhelming evidence for exoneration" as the bar for "not guilty" should die as painfully and loudly as possible. It's a huge jump down from that to "balance of probabilities". Unless perhaps "not guilty" starts just above "balance of probabilities"?
 

QV

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I’m starting to think some folks here need to live in a world where overwhelming evidence of exoneration is required for “not guilty”. I don’t want to live there, but they should.
 

OldSolduer

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I’m starting to think some folks here need to live in a world where overwhelming evidence of exoneration is required for “not guilty”. I don’t want to live there, but they should.
A reasonable doubt is all that is needed for a determination of not guilty. Despite that, some will always think the perpetrator did it.
 

Haggis

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A reasonable doubt is all that is needed for a determination of not guilty. Despite that, some will always think the perpetrator did it.
That's because there is the court of law and the court of public opinion. A finding of "not guilty" in the former can lead to a finding of "got away with it" in the latter. Ask VAdm Norman how that works.
 

OldSolduer

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That's because there is the court of law and the court of public opinion. A finding of "not guilty" in the former can lead to a finding of "got away with it" in the latter. Ask VAdm Norman how that works.
Roger that.
 
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