DND inquiry into sex misconduct case still under review 14 months later
The Globe & Mail interviews Emma Phillips about a military board investigation into the handling of a high-profile sexual misconduct case.
The investigation examined how the military responded to allegations by former master corporal Stephanie Raymond that she was sexually assaulted by a superior and then driven out of the army in 2013 for reporting it. The investigation was ordered over a year ago, but has still not been made public.
As the Globe reports, “A defence spokesman said the inquiry report is being examined by Lt.-Gen. Marquis Haines, the commander of the army, and will need to be signed off by Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of the defence staff.”
Vance has made important strides to combat abuse and sexual misconduct, but risks undermining that progress if the military is seen to be dragging its feet on its own internal inquiry, said Toronto lawyer Emma Phillips, who was counsel to the Deschamps review.
“I expect there are probably a number of members, a lot of members, who are waiting to see — and are perhaps skeptical about — whether the commitment made by the leadership to bring about change is genuine,” Phillips said in an recent interview with The Canadian Press.
“If it is seen to be stalled, I think that sends the wrong message and it can damage the efforts made by the Armed Forces, which appear to be very genuine.”
Aside from the inquiry being a bellwether, Phillips said it’s important the findings of the investigation be made public, within the limits of privacy and national security.
“There is a considerable public interest in having this kind of report made public,” she said. “The report could give us continued and greater insight how these incidents and allegations are treated and dealt with in the military.”