Lieutenant-Colonel Mason Stalker was suspended from his command after several serious, sex-related charges were laid against him on Tuesday.
Stalker, a former Revelstoke resident, was the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Prince Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
The Department of National Defence announced Tuesday morning that Stalker was charged with a number of sex-related offences relating to a time when he mentored a military cadet corps in Edmonton between 1998 and 2007.
Later in the day, General Jonathan Vance, the Commander of the Canadian Armed Forces, issued a statement saying Stalker was suspended from his command while the matter was before the courts.
Vance stated he couldn’t comment further on the matter while it was before the courts.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service charged Stalker with:
— Three counts of sexual assault;
— Four counts of sexual exploitation;
— One count of sexual interference;
— One count of invitation to sexual touching;
— One count of breach of trust by a public officer.
The charges stem from an investigation that began when the lone victim made a complaint on April 27, 2015, said Joanna Labonte, a spokesperson for the Armed Forces Military Police. Stalker was mentoring the 2551 PPCLI Army Cadet Corps when the alleged incidents took place
“These are serious and significant charges under the Criminal Code of Canada,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Bolduc, Commanding Officer of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, in a new release. “Regardless of a member’s rank and role in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service works diligently and independently from the Canadian Armed Forces chain of command to protect individuals from those who violate the law.”
According to the CBC, Stalker appeared in court this morning and was released on bail, with conditions, including staying away from places where children gather such and avoiding contact with cadets 18 years of age or younger.
Stalker will be tried in criminal court in Edmonton.
Commander Vance, who was named to his post earlier this month, used his first speech to urge members of the armed forces to speak out against harassment and sexual assault. The investigation into Stalker pre-dates Vance’s speech.
Stalker grew up in Revelstoke, where he was an active member of the Rocky Mountain Rangers Cadets before joining the Canadian Armed Forces and beginning a career that saw the 40-year-old named the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry last year. In 2012, he received the Meritorious Service Medal for his actions as a commanding officer in Afghanistan from September 2010 to October 2011.
Stalker was in Revelstoke on May 31 to act as the presiding officer at the Revelstoke cadets corp ceremonial review.