Capt. Miken Rienks is relieved to see charges against Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker have been dropped.
On Friday, Nov. 4, an Edmonton Crown prosecutor asked a Court of Queen’s Bench Judge to withdraw sex-related charges against Stalker, explaining there was no longer a likelihood of securing a conviction.
The charges stemmed from offences alleged to have occurred between 1998 and 2007, while Stalker, a commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was based in Edmonton and a mentor with the 2551 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.
“I am very pleased with the news released today in regards to LCOL Mason Stalker,” said Rienks, a commanding officer with the Rocky Mountain Rangers (Revelstoke) Cadet Corps. “He is a personal friend and a hero to the cadets in our local cadet corps. As always, LCOL Stalker has our upmost respect and support and I look forward to working him in the future.”
Following the Edmonton court decision, Stalker released a statement, saying he’s always maintained his innocence and is reassured due process resulted in the withdrawal of all charges.
“I am very grateful for my partner, family, friends and colleagues, who have always known I’m innocent and stood by me through this nightmare,” says Stalker. “Nothing has made me more proud than to serve the soldiers of the Canadian Armed Forces: a privilege I take seriously.
“Although I may not be a commander anymore, I’m still a leader and I have always, and will always, believe in treating others with respect. I remain passionate that people should speak out when they need help.”
Stalker had initially been charged with three counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual exploitation, and individual counts of sexual interference, sexual touching and breach of trust by a public officer. It was later confirmed the charges were related to a single victim.
Three of the charges, including breach of trust, were dropped during preliminary hearings in August.
Stalker is looking towards recovery and returning to military service.
“Although I have a long path ahead to recover from the difficult strain this placed on me, my family, friends, colleagues and career, after more than 23 years of soldiering, I look forward to getting back to serving my country,” said Stalker.
Stalker is a two-time recipient of a Meritorious Service Medal for his actions as a commanding officer in Afghanistan.