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Friday, December 4, 2015

HMCS Athabaskan Sexual Assault Investigation

Written by: Elizabeth Chiu, CBC News

Military police are investigating the alleged sexual assault of a sailor, by another sailor, on board HMCS Athabaskan, CBC News has learned.

The incident happened Nov. 10 and was reported that same day by the alleged victim, military police said Thursday. They also said the alleged attacker is a sailor.

The warship had been deployed since September and was on its way home to Halifax after participating in Trident Juncture, a NATO exercise off the coast of western Europe, when the sexual assault allegedly occurred.

HMCS Athabaskan deployed on Sept. 8 and returned to Halifax on Nov. 20, said the Royal Canadian Navy.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, a special unit of military police, is handling the file.

The investigation includes interviews with shipmates. Some 300 crew serve aboard the Athabaskan.

No charges have been laid.

A military police spokesperson says information about counselling has been provided to the complainant, but did not say if he has used the help.

The sexual assault allegation arises months after a scathing report by a former supreme court justice that called sexual misconduct in the military "endemic."

It also follows the military strategy Op Honour. Its mission is to eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour within the Armed Forces.

Navy brass declined to be interviewed, and have not responded to a question about what's happening to the alleged attacker.