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Sexual Misconduct Allegations in The CAF

Furniture

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And hot off the press today. Surprisingly the CBC writes a fairly damning article on an investigation gone wrong.

The frustrating part is that anyone with a hint of common sense knew this was going to happen.

In the zeal to prove "we've changed" the CAF will destroy people. I don't believe it's a top down command, but ambitious/unscrupulous individuals with authority will use that authority to advance the agenda, hoping to advance themselves.

Like @SeaKingTacco said, you dont get promoted for not laying charges/handing out admin measures.
 

lenaitch

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Not certain about the FBI academy, but yes to all the rest. There are hundreds of former MP with civilian agencies, the leading consensus seems to be was they got more advanced training earlier with the MP that has benefited them greatly but toxic leadership and ridiculous policies are the main drivers for leaving.

This may be difficult for most to understand, but the reason the MP are such a shit show is because of the orders and policies the CAF and senior MP leadership forces upon them. The people in the MP are a cross section of good, bad, ugly at the same ratios as any other group of people.
Yup. Good point. Two ex-MPs that I can recall who came to my service; one solid, buckets of common sense and did well in his career, the other, not so much.
So apparently investigators don't actively investigate with a view to exoneration, much?
You investigate to determine and assemble the facts. Several reviews of major investigations that were found wanting have used the term 'tunnel vision', which is often tough to avoid. An investigative team helps to vary perspectives. Whether or not the facts usefully point to culpability depends on them and how they are gathered. As an investigator, you might make determinations and assessments that a court later differs with.
Without a hint of exaggeration the most toxic leadership email I've ever seen in the CAF was from a Military Police RSM to their people. It would be a very strong contender for in person speeches too. Top 2 or 3.

"Wouldn't piss on this guy if he was on fire" comes to mind.
I suppose like QV said, they are a slice of the organization. At one point my next door neighbour was the RSM at the local base. I went to visit the guardhouse a couple of times. He seemed to have a solid working relationship with his staff; no BS but seemed respectful (of course, he could have been a complete asshat behind closed doors, I don't know).
 

Booter

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my view from above is that the current climate towards sexual assault is, in a general sense, lay the charges- and the crown can decide which goes forward. I’m an not shocked at any story, from my recent experience with several agencies, that they didn’t care if they got the suspect statement or not. The mood is the charge is going to crown. They’ll make decisions.

In a general sense, supported by statistics in several provinces- suspect statements are not sought often on any offence. Whether that is popular to say or not- it’s not an MP problem.

I review detachments and services on a semi regular basis- off the top of my head I can’t think of one that didn’t have a review recommendation that they needed to actually interview suspects
 

Good2Golf

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I review detachments and services on a semi regular basis- off the top of my head I can’t think of one that didn’t have a review recommendation that they needed to actually interview suspects
Too bad in this case…it might have altered the sad outcome.
 

Eaglelord17

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The issue the MPs are running into is if they don’t charge them they are accused of being biased and acting as a old boys club. If they do charge them they are accused of being biased and it all being political.

At least by charging every case the prosecutor can decide if the charge has merit and drop them as needed.

Very odd they didn’t at least get a statement from him, thats a big deal for evidence gathering. Can lead to them admitting guilt off the bat saving the whole effort, lead to new evidence or witnesses, produce a solid alibi, etc.
 

KevinB

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My take on MP's is too stupid to be a real cop, and too gutless to be a real solider...
I've met a few exceptions, but a lot have simply cemented that.
 

Furniture

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The issue the MPs are running into is if they don’t charge them they are accused of being biased and acting as a old boys club. If they do charge them they are accused of being biased and it all being political.

At least by charging every case the prosecutor can decide if the charge has merit and drop them as needed.

Very odd they didn’t at least get a statement from him, thats a big deal for evidence gathering. Can lead to them admitting guilt off the bat saving the whole effort, lead to new evidence or witnesses, produce a solid alibi, etc.
That is cold comfort to the people ruined by it.

If the best the MP/policing world can off to explain away this behavior is "its easier this way", there is a serious cultural problem in the MP/policing world.
 

brihard

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At least by charging every case the prosecutor can decide if the charge has merit and drop them as needed.

But that’s horseshit. The threshold for charging is:

“Any one who, on reasonable grounds, believes that a person has committed an indictable offence may lay an information in writing and under oath before a justice…”

While the information is actually usually sworn by a court liaison officer or someone similarly assigned, the fact of the matter is that charges should not be laid unless the person responsible for the investigation believes that a person has committed an offence. If you don’t confidently hold an articulable belief that the person did the thing, don’t accuse them of it. And yes, I have had a few cases where through pursuing an investigation (even to the point of getting a court order to a phone company to produce phone records), I’ve reached a belief opposite from the suspicion I started with, and I was able to conclude a matter without charges.

We’re investigators, not prosecutors. Our job is determining, as best we can, what the truth is, and then seeing how that fits the law.
 
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Eaglelord17

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But that’s horseshit. The threshold for charging is:

“Any one who, on reasonable grounds, believes that a person has committed an indictable offence may lay an information in writing and under oath before a justice…”

While the information is actually usually sworn by a court liaison officer or someone similarly assigned, the fact of the matter is that charges should not be laid unless the person responsible for the investigation believes that a person has committed an offence. If you don’t confidently hold an articulable belief that the person did the thing, don’t accuse them of it. And yes, I have had a few cases where through pursuing an investigation (even to the point of getting a court order to a phone company to produce phone records), I’ve reached a belief opposite from the suspicion I started with, and I was able to conclude a matter without charges.

We’re investigators, not prosecutors. Our job is determining, as best we can, what the truth is, and then seeing how that fits the law.
I am not saying I like that solution, I am simply saying that is likely the route our risk adverse reactionary organization has taken.
 

Takeniteasy

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This thread is comical at best, many former members (I included) were thrown under the bus, stigmatized, and humiliated by the CoC willful ignorance and discriminatory attitudes. Many are armchair quarterbacking here and you do not even see it.
 

Haggis

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The issue the MPs are running into is if they don’t charge them they are accused of being biased and acting as a old boys club. If they do charge them they are accused of being biased and it all being political.

At least by charging every case the prosecutor can decide if the charge has merit and drop them as needed.
It would seem that, in a few cases, "reasonable belief" is confused with "balance of probabilities", a far lower threshold.
 

brihard

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It would seem that, in a few cases, "reasonable belief" is confused with "balance of probabilities", a far lower threshold.

Anyone who’s still able to be getting that confused should be supervised by someone who doesn’t, and shouldn’t be able to forward their own charges. There should still be a supervisory review on the file before it’s submitted.
 

Furniture

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Anyone who’s still able to be getting that confused should be supervised by someone who doesn’t, and shouldn’t be able to forward their own charges. There should still be a supervisory review on the file before it’s submitted.
That would work, right up until the supervisor realized that choosing to not proceed with charges could end their career, while there would be zero career repercussions for proceeding...

The choice between your career and some "scumbag's" isn't a choice at all for most people.
 

Booter

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“He said” “she said” sexual assaults, in my experience- reviewing and working with the crown prosecutors and police management, where there is no fear for the victim- like it’s a matter of consent- or it’s in some long historical nature will get sent to the crown for their decision on what they are willing to take to court. Some places will just lay a charge and let court sort it out. That’s not a good practice- but it is a REWARDED practice because it’s uncontroversial for the investigating officer. They get to “believe the victim” and blame the crown. If they don’t- they are subject to the politics of sexual offences currently out there. It is not right- I wouldn’t endorse this. But it’s observable.

If there is any matrix or concern for the person articulated- a no contact Condition will be put in place, that needs there to be some court process attached to it, there are several ways that can look. The crown may still look at it and decide that it’s not something theyll pursue and drop the charge.

In certain circumstances- a summons could be delivered for the suspect. The officer just giving them a court date- if the suspect tries to give a statement right there it’s not how the process works- it is my experience again, that a person will want to talk at the door but not when they are told to speak to a lawyer and set up and interview.

It’s easy to say how the system is supposed to look and act. What it does despite what people say it should be doing is something else entirely.
 

brihard

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In certain circumstances- a summons could be delivered for the suspect. The officer just giving them a court date- if the suspect tries to give a statement right there it’s not how the process works- it is my experience again, that a person will want to talk at the door but not when they are told to speak to a lawyer and set up and interview.
Which is why if someone wanted to talk to me immediately I would always very clearly and firmly caution them first, and then start my recorder, caution them again with that going, and let them talk. In car dash cams with good audio capture from a shoulder mic are fantastic for this, and the body cams that are coming soon should be even better. If someone not in custody wants to suddenly talk, I’m not gonna be the one to tell them no; I’ll just be the guy who makes sure they understand they don’t have to and can shut up and walk away at any time. We shouldn’t be nervous to take unprompted statements; it may be the only one we get. It’s also not my job to tell someone in the moment that they should talk to a lawyer; just that they have the right to.

To my mind, not taking a statement that’s on offer and legally clean is no different from seeing and ignoring a piece of physical evidence.
 

Booter

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So. The court detail officer delivering summons and court documents- who often has no understanding of the actual offence and what happened, in a place larger than a small detachment, is supposed to skillfully receive a statement and deliver the cautions in a quality way that will work in court?

Ignoring for a fact that two districts that immediately come to mind- will not accept a cautioned “statement” that isn’t video recorded- they may examine an utterance but a meandering statement is a complete waste of their time- so much so that it is unfair to suggest the suspect is getting an actual chance to provide their version of events.

We’ll have to disagree on how sexual assault investigations presently meet the system. I agree with your premise- for all you GAF.

It is a place that requires constant cajoling everywhere I am involved.

Your points about cams are all valid. I agree entirely that this will offset a lot of the corners I see cut
 

Booter

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In my usual vein- for about five years after a court wanted audio recorded statements only. I had the displeasure of dealing with a commander who only would have his people do hand written statements. The battle went on over years- because of money. Even where it was clearly outlined that it was to our benefit and expectation.

We have best practice, we have expectation, and then we have the RCMP, my experience with CFNIS is similar. Despite some very talented investigators.
 

brihard

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So. The court detail officer delivering summons and court documents- who often has no understanding of the actual offence and what happened, in a place larger than a small detachment, is supposed to skillfully receive a statement and deliver the cautions in a quality way that will work in court?
You know what, totally fair point. I was thinking in the context of delivering my own paperwork on my files, but yeah. Very unfair to a member serving process on someone else's behalf.

Ignoring for a fact that two districts that immediately come to mind- will not accept a cautioned “statement” that isn’t video recorded- they may examine an utterance but a meandering statement is a complete waste of their time- so much so that it is unfair to suggest the suspect is getting an actual chance to provide their version of events.
I could have been more clear. If someone said they wanted to start talking about what happened in a file where I'm investigating them as suspect, I don't mean that I'd say "OK, give 'er" and then listen to fifteen minutes of babbling. We have a model for taking statements for a reason, and I'd aim to do that properly.

We’ll have to disagree on how sexual assault investigations presently meet the system. I agree with your premise- for all you GAF.

It is a place that requires constant cajoling everywhere I am involved.
No, you're right, how they actually go is often not how they ought to. I'm speaking normatively- what ought to be. I know, and am disappointed by the fact that, some police services or individual officers will 'chance it' and just fire a marginal case off for charges and for crown to then sort out.

Your points about cams are all valid. I agree entirely that this will offset a lot of the corners I see cut
Yup. I'm very glad they're becoming normal.
 
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