Stéphanie Raymond wins step in military sexual assault case

In a 21-page letter to former corporal Stéphanie Raymond, the Canadian Armed Forces' Chief of Defence Staff admitted the treatment she experienced after filing a complaint of sexual assault against a superior was not in line with military procedures.

Tom Lawson, Canadian Armed Forces Chief of Defence Staff, says Raymond firing based on fraudulent documents

Stéphanie Raymond is appealing her case after the man she accused of sexually assaulting her was acquitted in August 2014. (Radio-Canada)

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.

Stéphanie Raymond said the outcome will have positive repercussions, particularly for women as well as for some men serving in the Canadian military.

Stéphanie Raymond says she was offered her job and rank back but that she could not permit herself to return to the military because she feared she would never be able to turn the page after publicly accusing a superior of sexually assaulting her. (Radio-Canada)

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

Warrant Officer André Gagnon pictured at court martial proceedings in 2013. His jury found him not guilty on charges of sexual assault dating from 2011. (Radio-Canada)

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.