Soldier found guilty of assault after 'hazing' incident reprimanded, fined $1,500

Soldier found guilty of assault after 'hazing' incident reprimanded, fined $1,500

A 25-year-old corporal has been found guilty of the lesser charge of assault after being accused of sexually assaulting a fellow soldier.

During a military court martial at Manitoba’s CFB Shilo last week, the victim — who can’t be named due to a publication ban and is also a corporal — said the accused rammed his hand between his buttocks and called him a homophobic slur during infantry training at CFB Wainwright in Alberta in December 2014.

He said the attack left him suffering for a year afterwards, saying he would sometimes find liquid fecal matter and blood in his underwear.

Military Judge Cmdr. Sandra Sukstorf sentenced the accused to a $1,500 fine and a formal reprimand on Wednesday.

The court heard last week that “low-level hazing” was common at the training exercise.

Soldiers testified that so-called “tickle parties”  were a common way to have fun. A group of soldiers wearing balaclavas would sneak up on an unsuspecting soldier and tackle him to the ground. Sometimes, clothing was removed in the process.

Another soldier said teasing and gestures like buttocks-slapping were considered to be like high-fives, or a way to indicate approval or encouragement. The soldier said such behaviour happened daily, and usually when staff and instructors were not around.

However, the victim testified the attack was different and happened quickly while he was in his sleeping quarters.

In his closing submission last Friday, prosecutor Maj. Greg Moorehead called the attack a “targeted strike.”

“This is not an easy allegation to make. It was an embarrassing thing to admit to.”

Maj. Doug Keirstead, a spokesperson for the Canadian Armed Forces, said after the sentencing that all military members deserve an environment where they are treated with respect and dignity.

“Any form of behaviour that subjects anyone to personal indignities, harassment or hazing is inappropriate and not tolerated by the Canadian Armed Forces,” he said. 
“We are committed to ensuring that all members of the Canadian Armed Forces are able to serve in an environment that is free of harmful and inappropriate behaviour to ensure that Canada has a cohesive, trusted, effective fighting force that respects the dignity of others.
“Any breach of the principles, values or expected behaviours of the code of values and ethics of the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to be investigated and dealt with through disciplinary and/or administrative action.”‎

Published at Wed, 07 Feb 2018 15:07:20 -0500