Former navy commander fined over sexual relationship with subordinate
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, December 4, 2017 5:40PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, December 7, 2017 10:52AM PST
A former naval base commander in Victoria has pleaded guilty to a charge related to a sexual relationship he engaged in with an immediate subordinate.
Nord Mensah, who has since retired, pleaded guilty to conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline because he failed to report the relationship to his chain of command.
Mensah was removed from his post at CFB Esquimalt, where he was in charge of logistics, shortly after the allegations of his sexual relationship with a subordinate emerged.
He was eventually released from the military for medical reasons related to mental health issues about a year later.
"When you have a leader having some sort of relationship with anyone in his command, I think it's pretty safe to say it's not appropriate," said CFB Esquimalt Base Cmdr. Jason Boyd.
Mensah was fined $2,500 and given a severe reprimand at a court martial Monday.
A Former Acting Base Commander at CFB Esquimalt pleads guilty to conduct to the prejudice and good order and discipline, based on failure to report a sexual relationship with a direct subordinate. See @CTVNewsVI #courtmarshall— Robert Buffam (@CTVNewsRob) December 5, 2017
The problem of sexual misconduct and inappropriate relations in the military was brought up last week by Canada's top soldier, Gen. Jonathan Vance.
He spoke with CTV News about Operation Honour, a campaign that is trying to crack down on the problem in the Canadian forces.
"We’re certainly trying very hard. Trying to learn about best practices, both in terms of preventing behaviours and changing culture," said Vance. "My sense is that we’ve made some significant progress in policies."
It's a culture that has been under additional scrutiny in recent years. A proposed class-action lawsuit was launched last year against the Canadian Armed Forces by Nicola Peffers, who trained and deployed out of CFB Esquimalt.
Peffers alleged she was sexually assaulted by a superior and then ostracized after she reported it to military officials.
The suit is proposed on behalf of all female or LGBTQ-identifying current and former military members, alleging the force failed to take reasonable steps to prevent such behaviour.
Retired navy Capt. Kevin Carle said things need to change because the Canadian public expects disciplined behaviour from the military.
"There's no room at all for inappropriate activity, certainly from a superior's perspective to a subordinate. Unfortunately, I think people start thinking with other parts of their anatomy instead of their head, and that can cause lots of problems," he said.
CFB Esquimalt officials admit it's had problems with discipline and inappropriate sexual relations before, and it's working to address them.
"If we've had one than it's one too many. We're taking every step we can to rid our workforce of this harmful and toxic kind of behaviour," said Boyd.
A Statistics Canada survey released last year found that nearly 1,000 people in the armed forces reported being victims of sexual assault within the year prior.