Sexual Misconduct | Army withdraws final charge against Steven Whelan

(Gatineau) Lt. Gen. Steven Whelan wiped away tears Monday morning as military prosecutors asked the court martial judge to withdraw the latest charge against him, as his lawyer prepared to cross-examine the complainant in the case.

Mr. Whelan had pleaded not guilty to one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for altering a performance report in 2011.

The Army alleged he gave the complainant in that case, a woman who was under his command at the time, a higher rating to prevent her from telling senior commanders about the flirtatious emails Mr. Whelan had sent to her. sent before they work together.

“My client went through this ordeal for two years, at enormous cost to taxpayers and to him personally, because of what I believe to be a false allegation motivated by financial interests,” said defense attorney Phillip Millar.

“It is disappointing not to have the opportunity to uncover the truth and respond to the allegations that have haunted this man since the leak on October 15, 2021, which placed him in a category of people in which he had nothing to do. TO DO. »

Mr. Whelan was removed from his role as chief of military personnel when media reported that he was under investigation by military police in October 2021. He has been on paid leave since then and is on the list high-ranking generals who were disciplined after being accused of sexual misconduct.

Mr Whelan was charged in January 2022 with two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.

Prosecutors dropped the first charge last week, related to what the military said was an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate.

Monday morning, prosecutors asked military judge Martin Pelletier to withdraw the final charge, based on “an evaluation of the evidence.”

Judge Pelletier ruled Friday that the emails at the center of the case could not be admitted as evidence.

In his ruling, he noted that if the defense were to attack the complainant’s credibility during cross-examination, the emails could be used to “rehabilitate” her during further questioning.

Mr. Pelletier mentioned that it was established in court that “the emails are very embarrassing on a personal and professional level” for Mr. Whelan. Their content is subject to a publication ban.

Mr. Millar said his client plans to file a civil suit against the federal government and “all those who participated in the destruction of his career without doing their duty to investigate.”

Prosecutors declined an interview request Monday morning.

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