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Sexual Misconduct Allegations in The CAF

Brad Sallows

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If PTSD is a mitigating factor from which is triggered an institutional obligation to support convicted veterans & members through the sentencing phase of a trial, do we really believe that support should be in the form of GOFOs & senior arms officers speaking as a representative of the institution

Support should be in the form of whoever can provide references; if they happen to be GOFO/senior, that is just the way things are.

How do we maintain discipline within the institution if the same offices which are responsible to uphold discipline are known to be writing apology letters for equal or more egregious offences that were handled outside the institution?

Start by explaining that they are not apology letters, and continue by explaining what purpose they serve.

What's the perspective of junior ranks when they see senior officers, through the authority of their rank and position, hand out convictions and punishment at summary trial and then those junior ranks turn around to see senior officers, leveraging the authority of their rank and position, to make apologies for the criminal behavior of one of their own?

Probably a poor one, if they don't get the same benefit during sentencing.
 

Brad Sallows

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Which institution the GOC or CAF ?

For support in general, both; but for character references, the people writing letters about serving/former members are more likely to be serving/former members.
 

PuckChaser

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It's hilarious, the opposition is giving the government an out by placing the blame on the PMs COS, but they won't take it. Maybe someone should tell them if you want to get out of the hole you're digging for yourself, start digging up as its a lot longer of a way out if you keep digging down.

The parasites in the CAF wanting to fight change must be loving this, they have political top cover for the status quo.
 

CBH99

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If the institution orders a well-adjusted person into a situation and circumstances which cause him to become maladjusted, I expect the institution to take responsibility.
I'd like to clarify right off the bat, that I don't disagree with any of your posts in this thread so far. I've found them to be moderate, well worded, down to earth, etc etc - and I don't disagree with the post that is quoted above.

I do agree that if the organization orders a well-adjusted person into a situation - even if that situation is the person's job that they joined to do & are trained to do - we do have an obligation to take care of those members if they become 'maladjusted', injured, or what I will delicately yet respectfully label as broken in some way, shape, or form.

A military needs to take care of it's members when those members suffer physical or psychological/mental challenges throughout the course of their duties.




However, in this particular case, what that member did is not consistent with some sort of injury or whatnot. This wasn't a member who had experienced anxiety in a crowded place, couldn't escape, and ended up getting physical with someone during some sort of breakdown - or anything of the sort.

This member targeted a female member he found attractive. Found out where she lived. Obviously did some sort of research on his target to know when her husband would not be home. Then proceeded to break into her house and rape her. And if that wasn't horrible enough, he went ahead and followed up by doing it a 2nd time.

So while I think almost everybody does agree with you that our organization does have an obligation to take care of members who become 'maladjusted' throughout the course of their duties, I don't believe this is a case of that. Him blaming his actions on PTSD is - in my humble opinion - just a cop out, an excuse he hoped would have a beneficial affect on his case or his sentencing.

(I am not a professional psychologist, and no I am not some sort of labelled expert on the subject by any means.)



While we do have an obligation to our members who serve honourably, we also have an obligation to pursue without mercy an individual who does what he did, and prosecute him fully.

The citizenry, especially potential recruits, should not view the military as an organization where "If you get caught doing something shady, they'll support you regardless as long as you are open to accepting the help." When it comes to a premeditated sexual assault in which a female member is raped in her own home, twice - the military should be the organization throwing this member to the f**king wolves after they have had a fair hearing, and is found guilty.


To be clear, I know the context of your post, and know what you meant. That's why I wanted to clearly say I do agree with that you said. I just wanted to clarify this flip side of the coin, as my own 0.002. I apologize beforehand if I misunderstood the context of your post or if it was a response to someone else's post -- busy discussion thread, I may have missed something!
 

MilEME09

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A new low for the CAF that someone released to the media a fake document claiming Lt. Cmdr. Raymond Trotter was convicted of sexual assault in British Columbia. DND has confirmed its fake, but someone altered the original document and then released to the media. Absolutely despicable that people wear the uniform and think that's okay
 

OldSolduer

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A new low for the CAF that someone released to the media a fake document claiming Lt. Cmdr. Raymond Trotter was convicted of sexual assault in British Columbia. DND has confirmed its fake, but someone altered the original document and then released to the media. Absolutely despicable that people wear the uniform and think that's okay
Reprehensible. I certainly hope this is investigated.

Whatever happened to all those ethics we are supposed to have?
 

FSTO

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A new low for the CAF that someone released to the media a fake document claiming Lt. Cmdr. Raymond Trotter was convicted of sexual assault in British Columbia. DND has confirmed its fake, but someone altered the original document and then released to the media. Absolutely despicable that people wear the uniform and think that's okay
What idiot would think that this COA would fly? Some real rocket scientists in our organization.
 

Brad Sallows

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However, in this particular case, what that member did

I don't share a certainty that there are only some kinds of ways people can change behaviour as a result of trauma. Was there a history of sexual misconduct, yes or no? If no, then what changed?

What is "pursue without mercy" meant to express? To be literally "without mercy" is to be inhumane.

A people and a nation may be judged by the way it treats its misfits and criminals.

I suppose the CAF and its members have an interest in exercising compassion. Who wants to join up and throw the dice on being the guy with the ill luck to witness horrors, suffer a breakdown, "break bad", and then be thrown to the wolves?
 

CBH99

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I don't share a certainty that there are only some kinds of ways people can change behaviour as a result of trauma. Was there a history of sexual misconduct, yes or no? If no, then what changed?

What is "pursue without mercy" meant to express? To be literally "without mercy" is to be inhumane.

A people and a nation may be judged by the way it treats its misfits and criminals.

I suppose the CAF and its members have an interest in exercising compassion. Who wants to join up and throw the dice on being the guy with the ill luck to witness horrors, suffer a breakdown, "break bad", and then be thrown to the wolves?
Again, I don't disagree with anything you've wrote here. I think we are looking at this with a slightly different interpretation, which is bound to happen in discussions forums or text (without tone of voice or anything to convey the context.)

- You are right, I imagine there are plenty of ways people can change as a result of trauma. And I am nowhere near qualified to comment on any specifics of that. However - PTSD or not - breaking into someone's home and sexually assaulting them is inexcusable, in my opinion.


- When I say that we, as an organization, have an obligation to help and support our members who are hurting or suffering in some way/shape/form, and we should 'pursue without mercy' those who cross the line - it is not meant to be inhumane. I'm not advocating for a literal pitchforking of any kind. Perhaps I should rephrase it so it sounds less aggressive, but the underlying point remains - certain types of behaviour can't be tolerated.

The military should stand for certain morals and ethics, and a code of conduct which is distinct from the average citizen in a few important ways. If one of our members makes a deliberate choice to go against everything we stand for (and everything most people stand for) - as an organization, we should stand by our values as well, and ensure that member is held accountable.

While I will openly admit, I have zero insight into this individual or his mindset - given the facts we do have, it seems like this was a very deliberate choice. He chose a victim, learned her address, did some research to see when she would be home alone, broke into her house, and raped her. More than once. It was not a crime of passion or a lack of judgement, it was a calculated choice in which he deliberately victimized someone.

So yes, I do agree with you very much so that we do have a moral obligation to support, rehabilitate, and stand by our members who experience physical or psychological trauma. Absolutely, 100%. But I do believe we have an obligation to stand by our morals and ethics, and take a firm stance against immorality when that member chooses to do something like the above.

One of our greatest recruiting tools, and one of the reasons why the public has faith in us (albeit that faith may be on very thin ice in some ways now), and one of the things that makes the military a very separate department & experience for it's members is that we should be holding our members to a higher standard. That's one of the appeals of the organization. And while supporting our members is an important part of that, holding our members accountable is also an important part of that.


- A people and a nation may be judged by the way it treats its misfits and criminals.

I also very much agree. That is why I made the point of stating that after the member has received a fair trial, if they are subsequently found guilty, to what extent do we as an organization go to continue supporting that member in the context of what this member did?

I know there are members who are good people, who end up broken or struggling, who end up in trouble with the law. By no means am I suggesting we abandon them or throw them to the wolves, at all.

Again, however, where do we as an organization find the balance of where our obligation to our ethics outweighs our obligation to a member?

And again, in the context of this case, we seem to focus on Dawes and Hamilton so much that we forget our organization - which we agree has an obligation to support our members - very much needs to support our member who was victimized in a very extreme way. I would argue that our obligation to support her is infinite times more necessary than to support the individual who violated her.


- I suppose the CAF and its members have an interest in exercising compassion. Who wants to join up and throw the dice on being the guy with the ill luck to witness horrors, suffer a breakdown, "break bad", and then be thrown to the wolves?

Again, I think we are agreeing on almost everything here, but reading the context of the post differently.

We do need to exercise compassion. We do need to support our members who witness horrors, suffer a breakdown, and require help. Like I said above, we 100% owe our members our loyalty.

Nobody is talking about throwing them to the wolves. Someone who breaks into someone's home and sexually assaults a female member, and then repeats it again? I wouldn't put this individual into the same category as the members mentioned above.



Overall, like I said, I agree with you. Compassion and loyalty to our members is extremely important. But so is accountability when a member chooses to rape someone, especially more than once. (I know you didn't disagree with that, I'm just clarifying.)

And just for the sake of an extreme, yet somewhat relatable example... what about Colonel Russell Williams? Obviously his actions were even more extreme. But they were also cold, calculated, sexual in nature, and repeated. Was he a broken member that we should stand behind while they heal and pull it together? Or was he someone who, after due process and a fair trial, was found guilty of some horrific things, and subsequently we need to distance ourselves from him? (I realize this is mostly rhetorical)


I realize I'm rambling around a point that I may not be doing a very good job of clearly defining. I guess my own humble, and very much useless/personal opinion is that - we do have an obligation to members who are damaged, while they heal and move forwards, even if they have the odd misstep or fall away for a little while from what we need to stand for as an organization. That obligation ends when - after due process, evidence, and a fair trial - that member is found guilty of sexually assaulting another, repeatedly.


0.02
 

Underway

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He chose a victim, learned her address, did some research to see when she would be home alone, broke into her house, and raped her.

Little though experiment.

There was another guy who did this. Then he escalated into murder. We stripped him of his rank, titles, awards, burned his uniform and tried to take away his pension.

The military has no problem throwing out criminals and walking away. Maybe Hamilton didn't threaten the institution enough to warrant that response.

Let's suppose he was caught before that escalation. Who's going to write the nice character reference for that guy? Because until we found out he was a psychopath he was the golden boy.

I don't give two craps about whether or not someone was suffering from PTSD. That's a partial reason, not an excuse. Give them the help to improve but they can get it under controlled conditions of a jail cell or a psychiatric institute. Victims come first, and that includes not re-victimizing them with letting the one who was convicted of raping them get off with a lighter sentence, because they garnered the support of a Regiment and their CoC.
 

Good2Golf

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I don't give two craps about whether or not someone was suffering from PTSD. That's a partial reason, not an excuse. Give them the help to improve but they can get it under controlled conditions of a jail cell or a psychiatric institute. Victims come first, and that includes not re-victimizing them with letting the one who was convicted of raping them get off with a lighter sentence, because they garnered the support of a Regiment and their CoC.
^ This SHOULD be Canadian society’s default. Care for the victim should be desired AND demonstrated with far greater commitment than that afforded to the rehabilitation of a criminal.
 

TCM621

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I'd like to clarify right off the bat, that I don't disagree with any of your posts in this thread so far. I've found them to be moderate, well worded, down to earth, etc etc - and I don't disagree with the post that is quoted above.

I do agree that if the organization orders a well-adjusted person into a situation - even if that situation is the person's job that they joined to do & are trained to do - we do have an obligation to take care of those members if they become 'maladjusted', injured, or what I will delicately yet respectfully label as broken in some way, shape, or form.

A military needs to take care of it's members when those members suffer physical or psychological/mental challenges throughout the course of their duties.




However, in this particular case, what that member did is not consistent with some sort of injury or whatnot. This wasn't a member who had experienced anxiety in a crowded place, couldn't escape, and ended up getting physical with someone during some sort of breakdown - or anything of the sort.

This member targeted a female member he found attractive. Found out where she lived. Obviously did some sort of research on his target to know when her husband would not be home. Then proceeded to break into her house and rape her. And if that wasn't horrible enough, he went ahead and followed up by doing it a 2nd time.

So while I think almost everybody does agree with you that our organization does have an obligation to take care of members who become 'maladjusted' throughout the course of their duties, I don't believe this is a case of that. Him blaming his actions on PTSD is - in my humble opinion - just a cop out, an excuse he hoped would have a beneficial affect on his case or his sentencing.

(I am not a professional psychologist, and no I am not some sort of labelled expert on the subject by any means.)



While we do have an obligation to our members who serve honourably, we also have an obligation to pursue without mercy an individual who does what he did, and prosecute him fully.

The citizenry, especially potential recruits, should not view the military as an organization where "If you get caught doing something shady, they'll support you regardless as long as you are open to accepting the help." When it comes to a premeditated sexual assault in which a female member is raped in her own home, twice - the military should be the organization throwing this member to the f**king wolves after they have had a fair hearing, and is found guilty.


To be clear, I know the context of your post, and know what you meant. That's why I wanted to clearly say I do agree with that you said. I just wanted to clarify this flip side of the coin, as my own 0.002. I apologize beforehand if I misunderstood the context of your post or if it was a response to someone else's post -- busy discussion thread, I may have missed something!
As I have already mentioned, PTSD often as an inability to properly handle anger, and poor impulse control among other things. This often can lead to violence and, in extreme cases, can lead to murder and rape. The person is still responsible for their behaviour but it is behaviour that likely would never have surfaced if it wasn't for the PTSD.

The reason that it is important is that punishment is only one aspect of sentencing. The others include rehabilitation and protecting the public from a dangerous offender. A person who is suffering from a treatable mental illness doesn't need the same levels of incarceration as someone who doesn't.

In the case of a veteran, the reason they are in that situation is because of unlimited liability. They were put in a situation by the Crown that was the catalyst which set them down this road. The CAF, and the GoC has a responsibility to support that member. If the CAF only supports you for easy stuff, then it ain't worth shit. As I said before, deal with the situation like the one here is hard but so what. Everything about the military is hard, especially at the executive decision making levels. If we can't trust out Senior leadership to handle a complex situation like this, competently, during peace time how can we entrust hundreds or thousands lives them in wartime?


Little though experiment.

There was another guy who did this. Then he escalated into murder. We

The military has no problem throwing out criminals and walking away. Maybe Hamilton didn't threaten the institution enough to warrant that response.

Let's suppose he was caught before that escalation. Who's going to write the nice character reference for that guy? Because until we found out he was a psychopath he was the golden boy.

I don't give two craps about whether or not someone was suffering from PTSD. That's a partial reason, not an excuse. Give them the help to improve but they can get it under controlled conditions of a jail cell or a psychiatric institute. Victims come first, and that includes not re-victimizing them with letting the one who was convicted of raping them get off with a lighter sentence, because they garnered the support of a Regiment and their CoC.
Russell Williams' situation is not analogous to this one. That was a man that repeatedly committed heinous acts of an extended period of time. In fact, he hit all the hallmarks of a serial killer. Lionel Desmond, who killed his wife and daughter before committing suicide, is a slightly better comparison. To my knowledge we did not "[strip] him of his rank, titles, awards,[or] burned his uniform".

There is a huge hang up in this thread with people thinking PTSD is being used an excuse, it's not, it is being used as an example of a mitigating factor. Judges are to consider both aggravating and mitigating factors when deciding sentencing. One of the reasons, I think, we leave sentencing to the judge is that they are supposed to dispassionately look at the factors and give a fair sentence. Rape is the most visceral of crimes, we would be more willing to forgive a man who killed a woman than one who raped a woman. For some reason, we see rape as an unredeemable crime in a way we don't for other crimes. Judges are supposed to gather all the information and give an appropriate sentence, that we may or may not agree is sufficient.
 

Loachman

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Maybe it's overly cynical of me but I think the unit adj and RSM would be looking for what they could charge said member with. That certainly has been my experience.
Attempting to charge somebody for providing a character reference in a court (martial) case?

I cannot see any justification for that. It strikes me as unjust, unfair, and outright mean.
 

Brad Sallows

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Let's suppose he was caught before that escalation. Who's going to write the nice character reference for that guy? Because until we found out he was a psychopath he was the golden boy.

Scenario 1: the accused was a golden boy, and nothing came out at trial to reveal he was a deceitful psychopath who successfully concealed his flaws. I would write a reference, believing my judgement of his character to not be based on false impressions.

Scenario 2: the accused was a golden boy, and things came out at trial to reveal he was a deceitful psychopath who successfully concealed his flaws. I would not write a reference, believing my judgement of his character to demonstrably be in error.
 
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