A former military corporal who said she faced reprisals after accusing a superior of sexual assault feels vindicated after the Canadian Armed Forces extended an apology and reparations to her.
- André Gagnon not guilty of sex assault, finds military court
- Gen. Tom Lawson says sexual assault not part of military culture
Stéphanie Raymond said the outcome will have positive repercussions, particularly for women as well as for some men serving in the Canadian military.
In 2012, Raymond accused Warrant Officer André Gagnon of sexually assaulting her in 2011. Gagnon was acquitted by a military jury last August.
Raymond waived her right to anonymity in the court proceedings.
Despite the acquittal, Raymond continued her fight against the military for retaliation she said she faced following the complaint until she was fired at the end of 2013.
“It’s been a hard road. It’s a path a lot of people abandon along the way. I decided not to abandon it, to the detriment of my career,” Raymond said.
Chief of Defence Staff admits Raymond wronged
In a 21-page letter sent to Raymond on Dec. 18, the CAF’s Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson admitted Raymond had been treated badly by higher-ranking officers in her regiment. Lawson also wrote that Raymond had been fired based on information found in fraudulent documents.
Lawson said the documents used to dishonourably discharge Raymond were not in line with military firing procedures.
Raymond asked for $85,000 in moral and punitive damages for her ordeal. Lawson said he agreed with her request but lacked the authority to grant it, therefore he would transfer this request to the director of claims and civil litigation.
Her lawyer, Michel Drapeau, said he'd never seen such a strong criticism of the military chain of command by a Chief of Defence Staff.
Raymond said she was very satisfied with Lawson's response. Even so, she rejected the offer to have her job and rank back, saying she feared for her psychological and physical well-being if she were to reintegrate into the Canadian military.
She said she would never be able to turn the page if she went back. She is now in university, studying administration.
This is the closure of just one of the chapters in Raymond’s fight. Her appeal is scheduled to be heard by a military court in 2016.