Canadian officer says he was joking when he called sexual assault a joke

Captain Matthew Doherty, the second-in-command of the military police’s professional standards branch, was dragged before an Ottawa judge this week, accused of a sexual assault on a Canadian diplomat, after making an impassioned speech at a military club in Montreal in December 2017. Capt. Doherty had previously told the hearing, via telephone: “I would like to state plainly that … anyone in this room who assaults another is certainly as guilty as charged.” He also said to the young woman, who had been a guest at the club, that he intended to “find you, see you, and eat you” in an effort to bully her into silence about the assault. And, according to one of the evidence given at his trial, Capt. Doherty was heard laughing with a senior officer before making his bombshell speech.

According to documents obtained by CBC News, the deputy minister of National Defence said he was aware that his senior officer would “likely” face sexual assault charges but would allow the evidence to play out through the process as it would in any other case. And yet, despite the Quebec Provincial Court judge’s hands-off ruling, National Defence subsequently announced a formal investigation.

The judge ruled a formal investigation was needed due to the “increased seriousness” of the alleged assault and called for a hearing, but it was not until months later that the crown attorney prosecuting Capt. Doherty brought forward a formal written statement to say that, contrary to what he told CBC News, he had been aware of the investigation at least as early as September.

Capt. Doherty was arrested on May 22, 2018, at Ottawa’s CFB Trenton on charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and invitation to sexual touching. The Ottawa Citizen reports he had retired in September from the Canadian Armed Forces, where he had been a senior officer serving with the military police.

Read the full story at CBC News.


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