I submitted an Freedom of Information request with the Department of National Defence in July of 2018. I was looking for “copies of any reports, memos, letters, emails, or any other documents and communications indicating how many cases of child sexual abuse occurred pre-1998 and were brought to the attention of the CFNIS / MP / CFPM post 1998 and declined prosecution due to the 3-year time bar which existed pre-1998”
In August of 2018, DND responded to me that (a) their record keeping system was limited in its functionality, and (b) creating a tally of these crimes would be “creating new documents” which runs counter to the ATIP Act.
The above email reached me prior to the official letter which is below.
Two things are learnt from the above letter. The first being that the military police record keeping system was much different prior to 2002 than it is now.
Second, the Access to Information office won’t “create new documents’, and by that they mean if they go through the records as they exist prior to 2002 and created a spread sheet to track what charges there were for child sexual assaults, this would be considered to be the creation of new documents. And due to how records were maintained prior to 2002, creating a new tally sheet would be the only way to meaningfully count the number of sexual assaults in question.
The Information Commissioner of Canada did get involved and DND did finally agree to release some information to me.
On January 2nd, 2020 I recevied my response from DND.
The letter that accompanied the DVD explained that DND has released to me the information that I have requested, but only from the period of 2001 to current day as the Canadian Forces Military Police crime database does not go back prior to the year 2000.
This letter also explained that there is no data available for the years of 1998 to 2000. When DND says they never had a problem with child sexual abuse on the bases, they can say it with a straight face as they have no data due to piss-poor record keeping.
DND also explained that the information is “Invalidated raw data”. Whatever that means.
The data set can be down loaded from here.
Between 2001 to 2019 there were 2,804 sexual assaults reported to the Canadian Forces Military Police.
In 782 of the cases, charges were recommended. One thing to remember is that these cases only resulted in charges, there’s nothing to indicate if a conviction resulted due to the charges.
423 cases were closed as being “Unfounded”.
881 cases were closed as being “Founded Not Cleared”
171 cases were subject to “Departmental Discretion”.
I’m still waiting for an explanation for this one.
52 cases were investigations for sexual crimes involving children. The fact that these cases are being investigated by the CFNIS means that Lt. Gen. Christine Whitecross wasn’t stating the facts before the Defence Committee when Randall Garrison asked her who had the jurisdiction for child sexual assault investigations on Canadian Forces Bases in Canada. The response from Lt. Gen. Christine Whitecross was that matters involving children are always handed off to the outside civilian authorities. This would be a very similar response to what I was told by Lt. Col. David Antonyshyn of the Office of the Judge Advocate General.
However, one thing became very apparent while I was reading this data set.
This data set is only for “Sexual Assault”.
Sexual assault is a very specific charge under the Criminal Code of Canada.
So, I filed off another Access to Information request.
One of the key elements of the criminal justice system in this country is that a person being charged with a criminal code offence has to be charged under the criminal code that was in place at the time the alleged offence occurred.
If someone sexually assaulted a child in 1981, and they were investigated today, they would have to be charged under the 1970 Revised Statutes of Canada, Chapter C-34, Criminal Code.
If someone sexually assaulted a child in 1986, and they were investigated today, they would have to be charged under the 1985 Revised Statutes of Canada, Chapter C-46, Criminal Code.
Sexual assault as a charge did not exist prior to 1985. Prior to 1985 sexual assaults against female children were usually dealt with by Sections 146, 148, 149, 150, 153, 155, and 157. Sections 143 and 145 were rarely used when female children were sexually assaulted. When male children were sexually assaulted, the charges used were usually Sections 155, 156, and 157.
With the new Criminal Code, rape was removed, so there were no longer charges specific to the victim’s gender.
From 1985 onward, persons who sexually assaulted children were usually charged with Section 151, 152, 153, and sometimes Section 159.
Sexual assault in regard to adults is usually dealt with in the 1985 Criminal Code under Section 271, 272, and 273.
We’ll have to wait and see what DND’s response is to my latest request.