News

Military Police to apologize to RMC cadet for botched investigation


Article content

The head of the Canadian Armed Forces Military Police is being called upon to apologize to one Royal Military College cadet and to the family of another whose life has become “medically compromised,” after they failed to investigate allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct at the university in 2019.

Advertisement 2

Article content

“The case raised issues of such seriousness about the conduct of some Military Police members that the (Military Police Complaints Commission) self-initiated a complaint for the first time in its history,” a news release from the commission said.

The call for the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal to apologize comes from the Military Police Complaints Commission following a Public Interest Investigation into incidents in the spring of 2019 at the Kingston school.

The investigation probed the actions of Master Cpl. William Armstrong, Cpl. Jeffery Graham, Warrant Officer Carol Bastien, Sgt. Pierre Compeau, Sgt. Stephen Bultinck, and Lt. Cindy Cote, the commanding officer of the Military Police Kingston Detachment.

Advertisement 3

Article content

“In the case of the young woman, in addition to being left unprotected, this victim of criminal harassment was blamed for her situation and her reputation was tainted by the actions of the Military Police,” the report states. “In the case of the young man, the actions of the Military Police did not help him deal with his mental health difficulties and may even have exacerbated them.”

The commission explained that in March 2019, a female officer cadet came forward to Military Police to report that a male officer cadet was harassing her. She was interviewed by Armstrong and alleged that her male peer had “obvious mental illness” and was a risk to himself and possibly posed a danger to her.

The report said he harassed her, her family both in person and over social media, and he once told her “he wished she would ‘disappear.’” She provided the police with evidence of the harassment, including photocopies of their exchanges.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Remembrance Day service at the Royal Military College Memorial Arch in Kingston on November 11, 2021. Approximately 200 Armed forces members, RMC staff and officer-cadets and civilians attended the service

The investigation found that the Military Police instructed the young woman to not speak with the male officer cadet. A plan to investigate was developed, but no supervisor, Bastien and Bultinck in this case, reviewed it, and they didn’t further evaluate the risk the woman was facing.

The report states that the Military Police supervisor cleared the case, stating there was “insufficient evidence to proceed.”

“That supervisor, however, did not look at any of the evidence supplied by the female officer cadet,” the report said. “The Officer Commanding of the Military Police Kingston Detachment then wrote to the Director of Cadets at the RMC to say that, following an investigation, the Military Police had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support a charge of criminal harassment against the male officer cadet. She was apparently unaware that there had been no such investigation.”

Advertisement 5

Article content

A week after the woman reported the harassment, Military Police were called to the same male officer cadet’s dormitory as his roommate found a belt fashioned into a “noose.” The cadet voluntarily went to the hospital for treatment. A short time after that, the male officer cadet told Military Police that he had given thousands of dollars over the course of their time at the school to the female officer cadet, expecting a romantic relationship, but it didn’t happen.

Graham asked the officer cadet if he needed medical attention, to which he replied he did not. The officer cadet explained that he’d been diagnosed with autism and was considering leaving the military. Graham then told the officer cadet that he had committed the criminal offence of soliciting a sexual service and that he would “probably” face a criminal charge.

Advertisement 6

Article content

Six days later, the officer cadet attempted to end his own life but survived. According to the report, he’d harmed himself again and received treatment and medication, but about three months later attempted again while at Kingston General Hospital. He survived the attempt but was put on life support, and while he was discharged from the hospital, he remains “in a compromised state,” the report said.

Two weeks after the male officer cadet’s attempted suicide, Graham interviewed the female officer cadet about her peer’s allegation she had taken money from him.

“(Cpl. Graham) made it clear that he disapproved of her accepting money from the male officer cadet, whom he thought was being exploited due to his mental illness,” the report states. “Cpl. Graham considered charging the female officer cadet with fraud (for taking the male officer cadet’s money without intending to enter into a relationship), public mischief (for falsely reporting that she was being harassed by the male officer cadet in order to avoid repaying her debt to him), and receiving material benefit from sexual services (for taking money from the male officer cadet that she knew was part of the offence of soliciting a sexual service).”

Advertisement 7

Article content

Ultimately the young woman was never charged, and Military Police concluded no criminal acts were identified in the relationship.

During their investigation, the commission said it identified five key issues with how the local Military Police detachment handled the situation.

First, they called the Military Police’s lack of action to address the mental health concerns the female officer cadet brought forward “inexplicable,” and then they noted the officers failed to even conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations of harassment.

“The Final Report notes that the investigating MP’s ‘lack of effort was (…) perplexing,’ and that his supervisor ‘closed the file without looking at the evidence that had been furnished by the female officer cadet,” the commission said.

Advertisement 8

Article content

The commission’s report also criticized Military Police for simply telling the women to avoid her peer without taking any reasonable steps, and they didn’t investigate any allegations of sexual misconduct she brought forward.

“The Public Interest Investigation determined that the investigating MP member ‘was motivated by moral convictions as opposed to legal ones. He seems to have disapproved of the female officer cadet’s actions before his interview with her even started,’” the commission said.

The report also noted that Military Police failed to provide any oversight in regards to the woman’s mental health, considering she’d reported sexual offences and criminal harassment.

The commission said their final report made 15 recommendations, including the apology and to review the Military Police’s training in the area of victims’ rights and services, all of which the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, Brig.-Gen. Simon Trudeau, accepted.

Advertisement 9

Article content

“This Public Interest Investigation Interim Report has revealed a number of concerning failures, both of individuals and collectively, which highlight actions needing to be taken in order to ensure these types of events do not happen again,” Trudeau is quoted in the report. “It is with concern that I accept the findings and recommendations of this report and express my commitment to addressing these shortcomings with affirmative and concise actions. The Canadian Forces Military Police Group is dedicated to enhancing the Military Police profession and interactions with the members of the communities we serve.”

The entire report,

which goes into detail about the male officer cadet’s extensive and ongoing struggle with his mental health, can be found on the commission’s website at

mpcc-cppm.gc.ca

.

scrosier@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StephattheWhig

Advertisement 1

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.




Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

close