Hidden camera leads to CFB Esquimalt sex assault charges

Hidden camera leads to CFB Esquimalt sex assault charges

WATCH: Charges laid after an international investigation uncovers CFB Esquimalt sex assault that was videotaped. Tess van Straaten reports.

A sexual assault at CFB Esquimalt that was videotaped has been uncovered after an investigation spanning two countries.

The case began in January after a member of the Canadian Armed Forces posted to Washington, D.C., found a hidden camera in her home.

The Canadian Forces National Investigative Service (CFNIS) traced the device to army Cpl. Colin McGregor.

The resources management support clerk was also posted to Washington and police executed a search of his home.

“At the home of the accused they found a number of computers, hard drives, media equipment and a number of other storage devices,” says Lt. (N) Blake Patterson,  a public affairs officer for the Canadian Forces Military Police Group in Ottawa.

On one of those devices was a recording of a sexual assault against a CAF member at CFB Esquimalt in 2011.

“It does illustrate the role that Canadian Forces Military Police have in that no matter where our members are serving in the world, they still fall within the jurisdiction of our investigators to pursue those cases,” Lt. (N) Patterson told CHEK News.

No one at CFB Esquimalt is talking about the case.

Cpl. McGregor was posted to the Greater Victoria base when the assault took place in 2011.

But investigators say the victim didn’t come forward and it wasn’t reported.

It wasn’t until investigators found the recording this year that they knew a crime had taken place at the base.

“I’m not surprised at all ? it’s part of the culture in the military,” says former leading seamen Nicola Peffers of Victoria, who wrote a book called Refuge in the Black Deck about how her own sexual assault and harassment complaints weren’t taken seriously.

Peffers, who is also the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the Canadian Armed Forces that alleges rampant sexual misconduct, says she knows all too well why the victim didn’t come forward. 

“The climate was very much in a cover up mode back then, before the Deschamps report, and it was all victim blaming and under the rug mentality,” says Peffers. “You risk your career, your reputation and you become known as the outsider.”

It’s hoped the climate is changing after Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance vowed the military would thoroughly investigate all sexual misconduct allegations and take action against anyone found guilty.

Cpl. McGregor is in custody at CFB Gagetown facing sexual assault and voyeurism charges.

Investigators don’t believe there are any other victims but anyone with information is urged to come forward.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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