Former top commander accused of sexual misconduct returns prestigious military decoration

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Former chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance formally returned his Order of Military Merit on April 20, 2022. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press - image credit)
Former chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance formally returned his Order of Military Merit on April 20, 2022. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press - image credit)

Retired general Jonathan Vance, a former top commander who set off the military's ongoing sexual misconduct crisis, has returned his Order of Military Merit, the government announced on Friday.

Vance made a request to give up the decoration that was approved by the Governor General on April 20, according to a report published in the Canada Gazette.

Vance in March pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice after trying to contact Maj. Kellie Brennan, his former subordinate now at the centre of a sexual misconduct investigation into Vance's behaviour within the military.

Vance has since acknowledged a past sexual relationship with Brennan and confirmed that he fathered a child with her.

The revelations about Vance set off a major crisis in the military and a cascade of other claims of sexual misconduct involving senior officers. An unprecedented number of senior leaders have been removed from top jobs since February 2021 in connection with sexual misconduct claims.

The Order of Military Merit "recognizes distinctive merit and exceptional service displayed by the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces," according to the Governor General of Canada.

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