Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker, based in Edmonton, faces sex charges
Alleged offences happened while member was mentoring cadets
A high-ranking member of the Canadian Forces based in Edmonton faces a number of sex-related charges for offences alleged to have occurred between 1998 and 2007 while the member was a mentor with a local army cadet group.
Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker, 40, a commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry has been charged with:
- Three counts of sexual assault.
- Four counts of sexual exploitation.
- One count of sexual interference.
- One count of invitation to sexual touching.
- One count of breach of trust by a public officer.
The charges were laid after an investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS.) The complainant was a minor at the time of the alleged incidents. He came forward earlier this year.
Stalker appeared in an Edmonton courtroom this morning and was released on bail. He must adhere to a number of conditions, including staying away from places where children gather such as at pools, parks and daycares and cannot have any contact with cadets 18 years of age or younger.
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"These are serious and significant charges under the Criminal Code of Canada," said Lt.-Col. Francis Bolduc, commanding officer of CFNIS.
"Regardless of a member's rank and role in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service works diligently and independently from the Canadian Armed Forces chain of command to protect individuals from those who violate the law."
In an emailed statement to CBC News, the press secretary for Minister of Defence Jason Kenney called the allegations "very disturbing."
"Sexual assault and harassment of any kind have no place anywhere in the Canadian Armed Forces. This is now a matter for the courts, so further comment would be inappropriate," Lauren Armstrong said in an email.
Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, also declined comment.
"We must allow the judicial process to unfold," he said in a written statement.
"In the meantime, Lieutenant-Colonel Stalker has been suspended from his command assignment until the judicial process is complete."
In November 2012, Stalker received a Meritorious Service Medal from Canada's Gov. Gen. David Johnston for his leadership and tactical skills as the commanding officer in a volatile and violent region of Afghanistan.