Decorated Canadian colonel charged with sexual assault after five complainants come forward

Col. Jean-Francois Duval is the seventh member of Canada’s military to be charged with sexual abuse in the last month
October 31, 2017, 10:54am

A decorated colonel is the seventh member of Canada’s military to be charged with sexual abuse in the last month as the armed forces continues its campaign against sexual misconduct.

Col. Jean-François Duval, currently a member of the Canadian Defence Academy in Kingston and recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Afghanistan, has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of committing an indecent act under the Criminal Code, punishable by the National Defence Act.

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He also faces charges under the National Defence Act — two counts of scandalous conduct, two counts of disgraceful conduct and three counts of prejudicing good order and discipline.

The charges relate to offences involving five military members between January 2005 and December 2014. The incidents allegedly occurred at or near Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec and the 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.

In 2014, a Maclean’s investigation revealed the Canadian military received an average of 178 sexual assault and harassment complaints every year

In 2014, a Maclean’s investigation revealed the Canadian military received an average of 178 sexual assault and harassment complaints every year, prompting an external review of the crisis by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Marie Deschamps.

Five complainants who were members of the military at the time of the incidents have come forward against Duval.

Canadian Forces spokesperson Blake Patterson refused to say the gender of the complainants, but he did reveal that the charges stem from a witness interview as part of a separate investigation. During the interview, the female witness revealed sexual assault allegations that led investigators to open a case against Duval in May 2016. She is now a complainant in the case.

Duval was a director of professional development for the Canadian military based in Kingston, but he has been relieved of that position and has no leadership and supervision duties until the matter clears the court system. “He will be employed under my direct supervision with no leadership and supervisory duties until the case is disposed of in court,” Rear Admiral Luc Cassivi, commander of the Canadian Defence Academy, told Postmedia.