Top military police officer defends unit's handling of sex misconduct cases

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OTTAWA — The commander of Canada's military police found himself under the microscope this afternoon as members of a parliamentary committee grilled him over how his officers deal with cases of sexual misconduct.

Brig.-Gen. Simon Trudeau repeatedly emphasized the independence and professionalism of his military police officers throughout his testimony to the House of Commons committee on the status of women.

The committee is studying how the military handles inappropriate sexual behaviour in the ranks following recent allegations some senior officers have engaged in such misconduct.

Liberal and Bloc MPs shut down a similar study at the Commons defence committee on Monday that was specifically looking into allegations involving former defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance.

Trudeau insisted that his unit is not beholden to the chain of command, and suggested the process of charging a chief of the defence staff or any other senior leader would be no different than for any other member of the military.

Trudeau also defended the way his officers conduct investigations and determine whether to lay charges, saying all cases include a rigorous vetting and quality control process.

The military has been criticized by survivors of sexual misconduct and others of not properly handling such cases, especially those involving top commanders.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Apr. 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press