The former chief of human resources for the Canadian Armed Forces has become the most senior-ranking officer to be charged with sexual assault amid the military’s ongoing misconduct crisis.
Military police announced Tuesday that Vice Admiral Hayden Edmondson has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of committing an obscene act.
According to a brief statement from the Defense Department, his case has now been transferred to the civilian court system.
Edmondson was on leave since March from his post as CAF’s chief of military personnel.
Stephanie Wiau, a retired CAF member, alleged in a CBC News interview last March that Edmondson exposed her genitals to her and that Viau had accompanied her while serving in the Navy in the early 1990s when she was 19 years old. raped.
Edmondson was at the time a lieutenant-commander, superior to Viau. He denied the allegations, the CBC reported.
His lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said in an email on Tuesday, “Vice-Admiral Edmondson denies any suggestion of criminal misconduct and looks forward to the opportunity to restore his distinguished reputation for serving our country.”
Viau’s attorney, Paul Champ, said in an email that she would not comment further, “other than to say that we will wait for justice.”
Defense Minister Anita Anand, whose office declined to comment given that Edmondson’s case is now before the courts, has said fixing the military’s misconduct crisis is her top priority.
Anand recently announced that all military sexual misconduct cases would be investigated by the civilian police force. This was in response to an interim recommendation by retired Supreme Court Justice Lewis Arbor, who is conducting an independent review of sexual misconduct in the military.
In announcing the charges against Edmondson on Tuesday, military police said the case was not automatically transferred to civilian police because Arbor recommended that the completed cases remain with them.
The military has been rocked by a sexual misconduct crisis this year, as current and former senior leaders remain under investigation or facing charges.
Edmondson’s successor as chief of military personnel, Major-General. Steven Whelan, also under investigation for sexual misconduct, stepped down from the role in October.
General Jonathan Vance, who retired as Chief of Defense Staff in January, is facing a charge of obstruction of justice as part of a military police sexual misconduct investigation.
Vance’s successor, Adam. Art McDonald stepped down in February amid a sexual misconduct investigation that led to no charges. McDonald’s fired the top job last month after the government launched a campaign to get its job back.