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Alberta Crown withdraws sex crime charges against high-ranking military officer

Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker is interviewed as Canadian troops fight fires in Montreal Lake, Sask., on July 9, 2015.
Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker is interviewed as Canadian troops fight fires in Montreal Lake, Sask., on July 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

EDMONTON – Sex crime charges against Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker have been dropped by the Alberta Crown.

Stalker was charged last year with offences including sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

READ MORE: Edmonton commander facing sex charges picks jury trial 

“The charges have indeed been withdrawn in the J.M. Stalker case as the Crown concluded that there was no longer a reasonable likelihood of securing a conviction,” an Alberta Justice spokeswoman wrote in an email Friday.

After he was charged, Stalker was removed from command of the Edmonton-based 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and reassigned to a staff officer job pending the outcome of the case.

The charges allegedly involved a military cadet in Edmonton between 1998 and 2007.

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READ MORE: Canadian Forces officer charged with sexual assault 

Stalker said after 23 years of service he looks forward to continuing his career in the military.

“I have always maintained my innocence in this matter and am reassured that due process has resulted in the withdrawal of all charges,” he said in an emailed statement.

“I am very grateful for my partner, family, friends and colleagues, who have always known I’m innocent and stood by me through this nightmare.”

“Nothing has made me more proud than to serve the soldiers of the Canadian Forces: a privilege I take seriously. Although I may not be a commander anymore, I’m still a leader and I have always, and will always, believe in treating others with dignity and respect. I remain passionate that people should speak out when they need help.”

“Although I have a long path ahead to recover from the difficult strain this placed on me, my family, friends, colleagues and career, after more than 23 years of soldiering, I look forward to getting back to serving my country.”

Capt. Susan Magill, a Canadian Army spokeswoman, said the military is aware that the charges have been withdrawn.

She said it is too early to say how Stalker’s career may be affected.

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“He will be employed in a manner that is consistent with his rank and qualifications and his experience,” she said.

Stalker served in Afghanistan in 2006 and again from June 2010 until October 2011. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2007 and 2012 for his efforts in the Middle Eastern country.

“Responsible for operations in the most volatile and violent region of Afghanistan, he was instrumental to operational success and significantly contributed to defeating the insurgents,” reads the 2012 citation posted on the Governor General’s website.

“Lt.-Col. Stalker’s performance was of a high standard and brought honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.”

Stalker was one of the officers in charge when the military was called out in 2015 to help fight wildfires in northern Saskatchewan.

 

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