A former navy reservist from Windsor, Ont., who pinned one of his female peers on a bed and tried to touch her as she told him to stop has been fined $2,000 and issued a reprimand after pleading guilty to disgraceful conduct.
Lawyers at a court martial in Halifax offered a joint submission Monday recommending the fine and “severe reprimand” for Andreas Felipe Florian-Rodriguez, who was an ordinary seaman in the reserve force before being released last year.
He was originally charged with five offences under the National Defence Act for alleged offences between March 22 and April 19, 2016, but an assault charge was withdrawn and he was found not guilty of sexual assault and conduct to the prejudice of good order.
Florian-Rodriguez, 20, also pleaded guilty to another charge of conduct to the prejudice of good order for calling another female reservist several vulgar and sexist slurs.
“This goes directly against the military ethos … and shows a clear lack of respect for (the victim),” prosecutor Maj. Dominic Martin told the small hearing room. “The military is trying to reduce instances of sexualized behaviour.”
Martin described how in April 2016, Florian-Rodriguez was at a naval operations school in Halifax for a course and was staying with other reservists at the Stadacona base. He said the complainant was visiting Florian-Rodriguez’s roommate, but the pair were left alone when the roommate stepped outside.
Martin said Florian-Rodriguez climbed on top of the young woman, held her arms above her head and tried to put his hand in her pants. Martin said the woman told him she wanted him to stop and that he did so only when he heard someone approaching the area.
At the time, Martin said, the woman “felt sick about herself.”
“She wondered what she had done to deserve this,” he told the hearing room.
The woman, whose identity is protected under a publication ban, did not address the court but said outside later that it was difficult seeing him again though she was glad to have the case closed.
“I am happy it is now done,” she told reporters after the hearing, adding that she struggled somewhat in the aftermath of the event. “It was difficult and I had a hard time carrying on with the course.”
She said she reported the incident to the military a couple of weeks after it happened and was pleased with the way it was handled.
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Asked if she was satisfied with the sentence, she declined to comment.
“I honestly hope he learns from it,” she said. “It was really, really hard (to see him). I’m happy everything is taken care of.”
Florian-Rodriguez, who now works in Windsor, was ordered to pay $100 a month until the fine is paid off.
Military commanders have promised to crack down on sexual misconduct in the ranks since retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps reported in April 2015 that she had found an “underlying sexual culture” in the military.
Military police received 193 reports of sexual assault in 2017, more than twice the 93 reported in 2014. There have also been more charges, with 44 in 2016 compared to 24 in 2014.
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