Quebec soldier denies sexually assaulting female subordinate
QUEBEC – A Canadian soldier accused of sexually assaulting one of his subordinates says he did not attack her and that she’s the one who took the initiative.
Warrant officer Andre Gagnon told his court martial on Thursday he never made any reprehensible gestures toward then-corporal Stephanie Raymond.
Gagnon has pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.
The indictment filed against Gagnon refers to one count under Sec. 130 of the National Defence Act as well as the Criminal Code section corresponding to sexual assault.
If found guilty, he could face a maximum of 10 years behind bars.
Raymond has testified Gagnon told her he would like to have sex with her, that he then sexually touched her and tried to get oral sex after a holiday party at a restaurant in December 2011.
Raymond, who has insisted her name not be protected under a publication ban, filed a complaint against Gagnon and was subsequently discharged by the army.
Gagnon testified Thursday that Raymond was the initiator and straddled him when they were alone in a room at the Regiment de la Chaudiere armoury in Levis, Que., after a party where there was considerable drinking.
“She never objected,” Gagnon testified Thursday as he described a session of kissing, hugging and cunnilingus.
He said he behaved “delicately” with the corporal, saying he never had the impression she wanted to flee.
Gagnon said Raymond only objected when he tried to penetrate her, recalling she said, “No, we stop now.”
He said he replied, “That’s OK. We’ll stop.”
Gagnon testified that was the only time Raymond had objected during the encounter.
“We got up, got dressed and that was it,” he said.
Gagnon said they then left the armoury and returned to the nearby restaurant where their cars were parked.
Defence lawyer Philippe-Luc Boutin attempted to throw doubt on Raymond’s credibility for a second day, questioning her sincerity and motives.
He also tried to get Raymond to acknowledge she sought to profit from the incident by painting herself as a victim in the media. She said she did receive $300 plus parking fees to appear on a popular French-language talk show last April.
The military court martial is being overseen by a colonel in front of a panel of five soldiers. It is similar to a civilian criminal trial before a jury.
The proceedings are being handled by a court martial because both Gagnon and Raymond were in the Canadian Forces at the time of the incident, although Raymond is now a full-time student. It is also under military jurisdiction because the alleged crime happened at a Canadian Forces installation.
Gagnon will be cross-examined on Friday.
© 2014 The Canadian Press