Former Vernon, B.C. cadet files civil claim alleging rape by camp captain

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Civil suit alleging abuse seeks to change cadet organization
Civil suit alleging abuse seeks to change cadet organization – Mar 14, 2023

A B.C. man is alleging he was sexually groomed at the Vernon Cadets Camp in the 1970s, and that led to an assault that caused a lifetime of suffering.

The former junior cadet, who is identified as A.B. in a claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court last month, alleges he was raped by his former cadet captain when he was 13 or 14 years old.

At the time, he was being raised by a low-income single mother and was vulnerable to predatory behaviour, according to the civil claim.

Further, the claim alleges the federal government also bears responsibility as it was, “was complicit in an operational culture within Cadets Canada that enabled perpetrators … to sexually abuse cadets.”

It was 1977 when A.B.  joined Cadets Canada, and there he was trained to “trust and respect the ultimate authority of his superior officers without question,” reads the claim.

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Two years into the program, he was invited to the Cadets Canada camp in Vernon where he met his alleged rapist, who was a captain between the years of 1979 and 1983, according to the claim.

He’s described as “an adult in a position of authority and power over the then-infant A.B.”

During the camp, the relationship grew in a way that A.B became to see the older man as a father figure and someone whom he confided in and trusted.

Later, he realized that he was “deliberately targeted and exploited” due to his pre-existing vulnerabilities, which included a desire for a father figure.

To build trust, the claim indicates that the man gave A.B. more attention than other cadets, convinced him to confide him his feelings and observations about his life and family, was physically affectionate and would encourage him to keep secrets from other authority figures.

“The grooming was a deliberate process of manipulation and trust building … to lower the plaintiff’s inhibitions, erode the plaintiff’s boundaries, and create a relationship where he could coerce and later sexually exploit the plaintiff and ensure the plaintiff’s loyalty and silence,” reads the claim.

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The following fall, shortly after the camp ended, the alleged attacker visited Victoria, where the teen lived, and invited him and two others to stay overnight in his room.

A.B. and the former captain shared one bed and the other two cadets shared another.

It was in the middle of the night that A.B. woke up to being raped.

“(The alleged rapist) engaged in patterned or habitual predatory behaviour wherein he would befriend adolescent boys accessed through the Cadets Canada program, gaining their trust,” the claim reads, adding that his actions extended beyond A.B.

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At all times, the claim indicates that the Attorney General of Canada “knew or (ought) to have known about” the habitual behaviour of the alleged attacker.

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The claim goes on to allege that the federal government fell short of its responsibilities by not reporting the man when it “knew or (ought) to have known” that his conduct was criminal, it concealed documents or information with evidence of these sexual complaints and it prioritizes the avoidance of scandal over the protection of young cadets.

These shortcomings have left significant psychological harm, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, suicidal ideation, diminished capacity to become a parent or have an intimate relationship, lower self-esteem or struggles with authority.

The allegations have not been tested in court. A statement of defence has not yet been filed.

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