(Quebec) Lieutenant Colonel Martin Bernier, senior officer of the Valcartier military base, pleaded guilty this morning to two charges of sexual harassment on two soldiers.
According to the reported facts before the court martial, the offenses were committed on the night of October 18 to 19 2014 at the Québec City Convention Centre. It held the Evening of the 100th anniversary of the Royal 22nd Regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel then commanded the instruction of the 2nd Canadian Division Centre. The two victims were his subordinates. Like other guests, they were dressed in civilian clothes. Their respective spouses accompanied them.
During the evening, Colonel successively danced with each of them, rotating them. One said he felt discomfort while the other was Colonel undertook, “taponneux”, in the words she used.
In the minutes that followed, still on the dance floor, the top-ranking hit in turn, a buttock of each of the victims. One says that he “has pogne buttocks, solid”.
The two women, who are friends, discussed at the end of the evening what had happened to them. They shared their discomfort with their respective spouses and organizer of the evening.
They filed a complaint on 24 and 30 October. The commander was relieved of his duties because of allegations against him. Since then he was transferred to headquarters in Ottawa, where he worked with the Strategic Joint Staff.
In exchange for the guilty plea, the Crown dropped the two counts of sexual assault originally worn to the same gestures. “It’s not because it’s harassment, rather than aggression is less serious,” said the prosecutor in the case, Major Philippe Doucet. He said the two victims are also satisfied with the answer to the stored charge.
The sentencing process continues this afternoon. Lieutenant Colonel is liable to a reprimand, a fine and even demotion.
Both victims have to testify about the impact the event had on them.
More details to come …