By David F. Rooney
Decorated soldier Lieut.-Col. Mason Stalker has been charged by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) with 10 sex-related offences including an offence related to Breach of Trust by a Public Officer, all pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada.
The 40-year-old Stalker was born and raised in Revelstoke and served in Afghanistan before being promoted to his current rank and becoming Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Edmonton last year.
A statement released by the Department of National Defence media relations office on Tuesday, July 28, said Stalker has been charged under the Criminal Code of Canada with:
- Three counts of Sexual Assault in accordance with Section 271;
- Four counts of Sexual Exploitation in accordance with Section 153;
- One count of Sexual Interference in accordance with Section 151;
- One count of Invitation to Sexual Touching in accordance with Section 152; and
- One count of Breach of Trust by a Public Officer in accordance with Section 122.
“This CFNIS investigation concerns a series of historical incidents that involve offences alleged to have occurred from 1998 to 2007 in Edmonton, AB, while the member was involved as a mentor with a local army cadet corps,” the statement said
The statement quoted Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Bolduc, commanding officer of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, as calling these “serious and significant charges” under the Criminal Code of Canada.
“Regardless of a member’s rank and role in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service works diligently and independently from the Canadian Armed Forces chain of command to protect individuals from those who violate the law,” Bolduc said.
The statements called on individuals with any knowledge of these allegations o contact the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service Western Region tip line at: 1-877-233-6066. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is a unit within the Canadian Forces Military Police Group.
No other details were made public by the military and none of these allegations have yet been tested in court.
These charges were made in the wake of comments five days ago by the new Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance who has vowed to eradicate sexual offence from the military. He said last week that he will hold a summit next month with the leadership of the Canadian Forces to determine the way ahead for eradicating sexual assault and harassment in the Canadian Forces.
Vance says there will be other announcements in the near future laying out changes to how the military handles sexual misconduct but in the meantime, suggests victims call 911 or go through existing channels.
In a letter sent to all members of the Canadian Forces, Vance said that while he knows individual commanders are already taking action, their efforts need to be co-ordinated. He described this approach as similar to a formal military operation and says he has named it as a result — Operation Honour.