I can only imagine how terrified the brass within the Canadian Armed Forces were at the prospect of the Canadian public discovering that the military couldn’t protect children living on secure military establishments.
Just imagine for a minute that you’re Colonel Dan Munro, and that you’re the base commander of Canadian Forces Base Namao. Imagine that you have been informed by the base military police that a military dependant living on the base has just implicated your direct subordinate in a child sexual abuse scandal.
Imagine that you have to instruct your other subordinate, Captain David Pilling, to instruct Acting Section Commander Warrant Officer Fred Cunningham, to investigate your direct subordinate, Captain Father Angus McRae, for having committed “acts of homosexuality” with teenage boys on the the base that you command. These are the children of the men and women ultimately under your command.
I wonder if Munro went over to the Lamplighter Pub to down a few good stiff ones first before he made that dreaded phone call to Ottawa.
Now imagine that you’re in Ottawa, and you’re on the other end of that phone call. Can you imagine what it was like inside the hallowed halls of the Major-General George R Pearkes building in Ottawa to discover than an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces was molesting children on a defence establishment. And not just one or two children, we’re talking 25 children.
This must have activated the damage control machinery at National Defence Head Quarters. Captain Jim Grey seems to have been the media spokesperson designated to deal with the media on this matter.
I can only wonder what the Chaplaincy branch was doing. After all, as it turns out, the Catholic church was well aware of what its priests were up to during the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. And if the Catholic church was aware, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Canadian Forces Chaplaincy branch was well aware. This probably explains why DND removed all of the rectories from the base chapels in the late ’80s.
The first thing DND did back then was to “throw a wall of secrecy” around the entire Captain McRae matter. This was unusual because court martial hearings were supposed to be open to the public. Sure, the court martial occurred on a defence establishment, and DND could control access to the court martial by controlling access to the defence establishment. But the public were supposed to be admitted to the court martial. Yes, P.S. was a juvenile, but there were ways that his identity could have been shielded from the public and the media. This was a common occurrence during public trials which involved children.
This wouldn’t be the only time that DND and the CF hauled out the P.R. machinery in relation to this matter.
In January of 2000, P.S. tried to commit suicide. It was after this that P.S. realized that the abuse he suffered at the hands of Captain McRae might have been at the root of all of the legal problems that P.S. was enduring up to that point in time.
P.S. contacted a lawyer in Edmonton, AB. This is because you have to sue in the jurisdiction that the crimes occurred in. This alone probably explains why more military dependants haven’t ever tried to sue their abusers.
In March of 2001, Mr. R.P. Lee, on behalf of P.S. initiated a $4.3 million dollar action against the Minister of National Defence et. al. in the Alberta Court of Queens Bench.
The Department of Justice automatically springs into action whenever and type of action is taken against any department of the Federal Government.
This means that the Government of Canada is able to use tax payer money to bury people like me. The only reason P.S. was successful in his action against the Minister of National Defence et. al., is that he was anointed as the sole victim of Captain McRae by both the base military police and the Canadian Forces Special Investigations Unit in the spring of 1980.
The pages below come from the paperwork from the Department of Justice. It should be noted that almost all of the paperwork in the DOJ file is redacted. Out of close to 6,000 pages released, I think that less than 200 pages were un-redacted.
The first thing that the Canadian Forces Director Public Affairs Planning and Operations did was to remove the names of the Criminal Code offences from the press release. Why would they do this? Simple. To sanitize the crimes and to minimize triggering anyone else coming forward.
Unless you love reading through the various acts, you would never know what sections 155, 156, and 157 were, would you? Most people without a legal background would have easily understood that buggery meant anal intercourse, or more specifically that a 50 something year old Captain in the Canadian Forces placed his penis inside the rectum of a 14 year old boy. Gross indecency and indecent assault may not have been well known, but there were more than likely enough Canadians who would have known that basically Captain McRae was giving and receiving oral sex to and from a 14 year old boy.
Where as, if you strip away the descriptions of the offences and just tell Canadians that Angus McRae committed the indictable offences of 155, 156, and 157, then it doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
So, here is the “cleaned up” version that was released to the Canadian Media. Did you happen to notice that the Canadian Armed Forces give no indication of the age of the victim? For that matter, they also don’t mention the age of Captain Father Angus McRae. Nor do they mention that Captain McRae outranked each and every parent of the children he had abused. And unlike during the original CFSIU investigation in 1980, this press release makes no mention that Captain McRae was convicted for committing homosexual acts with teenage boys.
We know from the findings of the External Review which was conducted by Madame Marie Deschamps that the Canadian Forces never really took sexual assaults seriously, let alone accusations of sexual assault. So I have to chuckle at the insistence in the press release that the military “takes all allegations of sexual assault very seriously”.
They forget to mention that Captain McRae was sentenced to four years in prison, but that his sentence kept getting cut down to the point he actually served less than ten months total.
The Canadian Forces also forgot to mention that Captain McRae had gone on to molest more children after he left the Canadian Forces.