Judge in harassment complaint has role reduced

The Manitoba judge being investigated in connection with a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint, is no longer doing administrative duties.
Douglas stepped away from her duties as a sitting judge of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench in September, shortly after the complaint was filed with the Canadian Judicial Council. ((CBC))

The Manitoba judge being investigated in connection with a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint is no longer doing administrative duties.

The complaint against Lori Douglas, an associate chief justice with the Court of Queen's Bench (family division), is currently under review by a panel of five judges.

Winnipegger Alexander Chapman, 44, made the complaint in July, claiming Douglas's husband, Jack King, tried to pressure him to have sex with her in 2002 and 2003.

At the time, both King and Douglas were lawyers, partners at the firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman in Winnipeg.

Chapman's complaint was initially considered by Neil Wittmann, chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. He is the vice-chairperson of the Canadian Judicial Council's (CJC) judicial conduct committee.

Last month, Wittmann decided the matter warranted further consideration. The panel [three CJC members and two other judges] will decide if the file should be closed or whether any measures should be taken.

Alex Chapman filed a complaint of sexual harassment and discrimination against Lori Douglas in July 2010. ((CBC))

Douglas stepped away from her duties as a sitting judge in September 2010, shortly after the complaint was filed with the CJC, but remained with the court in an administrative capacity.

However, in an email on Thursday, Glenn Joyal, chief justice of Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench said Douglas' role has been reduced.

"Pending the final outcome of the proceedings before the Canadian Judicial Council, it has been agreed that associate Chief Justice Douglas will not be assigned any administrative duties in relation to the family division," the email stated.

"[She] will continue to work on various projects of importance and relevance to the court."

No further information was provided by Joyal.

Lawyer charged

Chapman filed a similar complaint against King with the Law Society of Manitoba in July 2010.

In early November, the society announced that it had charged King with violating three provisions of the code of professional conduct: integrity (breach of trust), prohibition against sexual harassment and conflict of interest.

The charges have yet to be proven in a disciplinary hearing, which includes two lawyers and one member of the public.

No date for that hearing has yet been set.

Chapman first met King in 2002, when he retained the lawyer to handle his divorce. King showed him sexually explicit photos of Douglas, naked in various forms of bondage, in chains, with sex toys and performing oral sex.

That information has been admitted to in court documents submitted by King.

At some point, Chapman, who is black, said King, who is white, also directed him to a porn website devoted to interracial sex, particularly between black men and white women.

When his divorce was concluded, Chapman filed a complaint to the managing partners at the law firm. Soon after receiving the complaint, King left the firm and signed a confidentiality agreement with Chapman, who was paid $25,000.

After seven years of silence, Chapman decided to file the complaint with the law society. He also decided to go public with his allegations at the end of August, telling CBC News he felt distraught about the matter.