Politics

Ex-head of Canada's vaccine rollout charged with sexual assault

Prosecutors in Quebec have charged Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin with one count of sexual assault. Quebec's prosecution service confirmed the charge in a tweet Tuesday night.

Dany Fortin was removed from his job leading Canada's vaccine rollout in May

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin speaks during a news conference in January. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Prosecutors in Quebec have charged Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin with one count of sexual assault. The prosecution service confirmed the charge in a tweet Tuesday night.

The charge is believed to stem from an alleged incident that took place sometime between Jan. 1 and April 30 of 1988, according to his legal team.

Fortin had been in charge of Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout until May 14, just five days before the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service referred a sexual misconduct investigation to the Quebec prosecution service to determine whether criminal charges should be laid.

Fortin has denied any wrongdoing.

He will make a public statement and speak to the media tomorrow outside a police station in Gatineau, his lawyer said.

Fortin earlier this year launched a legal challenge over his dismissal from the job overseeing Canada's vaccine rollout. He has argued that his removal did not respect due process.

A two-day federal court hearing on Fortin's challenge is scheduled for Sept. 28 and 29.

"As the matter is moving through the legal process, it would be inappropriate for us to provide any further comment," a spokesperson from National Defence wrote Tuesday evening.

The charge against Fortin is the latest development in an ongoing sexual misconduct crisis that has embroiled the Canadian military.

Jonathan Vance, Canada's former chief of the defence staff, is facing a charge of obstruction of justice related to an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Vance's replacement, Admiral Art McDonald, has been placed on an administrative leave following an investigation into separate sexual misconduct allegations, which ended without any charges. The federal government has said it is still reviewing McDonald's situation.

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