Senior military officer who retired, went to Ukraine, now charged with sexual assault

Military police have charged retired lieutenant-general Trevor Cadieu with two counts of sexual assault, three months after the longtime army officer hung up his uniform and headed to Ukraine while still under criminal investigation.

The charges were announced on Wednesday by Canada’s military police chief, Provost Marshal Brig.-Gen. Simon Trudeau, and relate to incidents that are alleged to have taken place in 1994 at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.

Cadieu, who has previously denied any wrongdoing, was supposed to take over as commander of the Canadian Army last September. A veteran of Bosnia and Afghanistan, he most recently provided analysis and advice to the chief of the defence staff.

But his appointment as army commander was suspended as military police investigated what was described as “historical allegations” against him, which Cadieu in a statement at the time described as false.

He then retired in early April as the investigation went on and sources not authorized to comment on his whereabouts said he headed to Ukraine to help defend against Russia’s invasion.

Cadieu could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday, but a CBC report quoted him as saying in a statement: “I have just been advised that I have been charged by the CFNIS.

“I am making arrangements to return to Canada from Ukraine, and I will continue to co-operate with this process, as I have from the start.”

Meanwhile, Trudeau defended the decision to have military police charge Cadieu in light of retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour’s call for the transfer of criminal sexual investigations from military to civilian authorities.

The provost marshal noted Arbour left open the door to leaving investigations with military police if they were near completion, adding: “As this investigation was near completion, the civilian police agency of concurrent jurisdiction opted not to accept it.”

A similar decision was made in the case of retired vice-admiral Haydn Edmundson. The military’s former head of human resources was charged in December with one count of sexual assault and one count of indecent acts, and his trial is set for August 2023.

Cadieu’s case will be heard in the civilian court system.

He is one of several senior commanders to be investigated by military police for alleged sexual misconduct in the past two years.

Those allegations have forced a reckoning within the military over its failure to address inappropriate behaviour. They also sparked criticism of the Liberal government’s handling of the issue and calls for more external oversight of the military.

Cadieu strenuously denied any wrongdoing in a statement last fall, saying: “The allegations are false, but they must be investigated thoroughly to expose the truth.” He said he had provided information to investigators to prove his innocence.

The retired officer also said at the time that he had asked Eyre to select someone else to serve as Canadian Army commander, adding: “I know that these false claims will, as intended, create doubts about my ability to lead in this environment.”

Cadieu’s decision to travel to Ukraine followed an order from Eyre banning serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces from joining the thousands of foreigners who have flocked to the country to help fight Russia’s invasion.

Russia has reportedly threatened criminal prosecutions against any foreigners captured fighting in Ukraine while a senior Canadian officer last month raised the spectre of Moscow attempting to use captured foreign fighters for propaganda purposes.

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