Petawawa Canadian Forces member suspected of sexual misconduct against colleague in Jamaica
Department of National Defence says allegations are being taken 'very seriously'
A Canadian Armed Forces member based in Petawawa, Ont., is suspected of sexual misconduct toward a military colleague while deployed in Jamaica in November 2015, the Defence Department confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.
"The alleged victim of the inappropriate sexual behaviour was offered counselling, emotional support and other services," the department said.
The member suspected of sexual misconduct has been reassigned to other duties as the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service determines whether charges will be laid, the department said.
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The allegation comes just one month after the Forces released its first progress report detailing efforts to address "inappropriate sexual behaviour" in the military.
A new sexual misconduct response centre was formed in response to last year's damning report that documented how sexual harassment was "endemic" in the military.
Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, said in February that the centre dealt with 64 allegations of sexual assault and 44 reports of sexual harassment in five months.
Allegation taken 'very seriously'
The latest "potential instance of sexual misconduct" occurred while a Canadian Special Operations Forces Command was in Jamaica as part of Exercise Tropical Dagger in November, the department said.
No other details about the accusation were released — including the names, genders or ranks of the people involved — but the department said the case is being taken "very seriously."
"Harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour of any kind is an abhorrent behaviour that has no place in the Canadian Armed Forces. Our institution's culture of personal and professional respect is non-negotiable," the statement said.
"The Canadian Armed Forces has an obligation to ensure a respectful, healthy professional environment for all of its members. Operationally, our continued success depends on unwavering trust and cohesion among our members, regardless of circumstance, ethnicity, gender, background or sexual orientation."
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