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Senior officer faces military charges after probe of relationship allegations

OTTAWA — The military police have charged a senior officer in the Canadian Armed Forces after an investigation into allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.
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The Canadian Forces and Canadian flags fly outside a National Defence building, Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Ottawa.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — The military police have charged a senior officer in the Canadian Armed Forces after an investigation into allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

The office of Canada's military police chief announced on Wednesday that Lt.-Gen. Steven Whelan is facing two counts under the National Defence Act related to "conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline."

Whelan stepped aside from his role as head of the Canadian military's human resources last October due to an investigation by military police into "historic" allegations of sexual misconduct.

Whelan, who has previously denied wrongdoing, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Whelan took over as head of human resources after Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson stepped down from the role due to a police investigation.

In December, Edmundson was charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of indecent acts. His lawyer, Brian Greenspan, denied the allegations at the time. 

Edmundson's trial is set for August 2023 and will be heard in the civilian court system. 

Defence Minister Anita Anand said last November the Forces would start transferring cases involving criminal sexual offences to civilian police forces and courts on an interim basis.

Wednesday's statement on the charges laid against Whelan said the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service's probe did not reveal any supporting evidence for laying criminal charges, as the allegations relate to offences "specific to the military context" that would not have been investigated by civilian police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press