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Canadian News Aug 8, 2021 3:42 PM EST

Top military officer cleared of all charges as investigation concludes

Admiral Art McDonald will not face any charges on his sexual misconduct allegations, as investigators cite there was insufficient evidence.

Top military officer cleared of all charges as investigation concludes
James Anthony Montreal QC

Admiral Art McDonald will not face any charges on his sexual misconduct allegations, as investigators cite there was insufficient evidence. On Friday evening, Provost Marshal Brigadier General Simon Trudeau announced the conclusion of the nearly six-month investigation.

"The CFNIS was able to both identify and interview a large number of potential witnesses," he said: "The evidence gathered from these witnesses was considered in the ultimate determination that the evidence did not support the laying of any charges."

The decision could allow McDonald to return to his position as commander of the Canadian Armed Forces after voluntarily stepping down in February because of the military probe. Though the investigation is likely to spark questions on the military's competency to address allegations of misconduct involving top officers.

McDonald stepped down voluntarily in February at the auspice of the investigation, according to CTV News. Spokesperson to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan refused to comment on Friday, including on whether McDonald would be reinstated as chief of the defence staff.

While exact details of the investigation was never publicly disclosed, it was alleged to have been about an alleged sexual misconduct from 2010.

Lieutenant Heather Macdonald, purportedly one of Admiral McDonald's accusers, recently told the media: "I am not surprised as this was exactly why I was reluctant to come forward and why most survivors don't come forward.

"It's not worth it," she said, "I feel a little like I've gone through hell for nothing."

"Feel a bit like I've been punched in the stomach."

Trudeau defended the independence of his military police investigators, retorting: "The CFNIS conducts its investigations in a thorough and professional manner independent of the chain of command." He added that no further information would be provided.

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