Military drops major general peter dawe, sex offender maj gen biography

After an uproar, the military removes a general from its sexual misbehavior

The military has removed Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe from his new job overseeing the military's response to sexual misconduct assessments in the Canadian Armed Forces, citing increased public outrage and mounting resentment from sexual assault survivors.

The military has removed Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe from his new job overseeing the military's response to sexual misconduct assessments in the Canadian Armed Forces, citing increased public outrage and mounting resentment from sexual assault survivors.

Journalists reported Monday that Dawe returned to work in the post in a low-key manner. The decision stunned and disappointed current and past military personnel who have suffered sexual trauma while serving in the armed forces. They denounced the action as tone deaf and sought an explanation.

Additionally, the report sowed conflict within the military, since the military delayed to issue a public statement or explain its reasoning until late Tuesday night.

Dawe was relieved of his duties as Special Forces commander in May when CBC News reported that he had given a favorable character reference for a soldier facing prison for sexually abusing another soldier's wife.

Military drops major general peter dawe, sex offender maj gen biography
Major-General Peter Dawe is back working at defence headquarters working on the military’s response to various reviews of sexual misconduct.

Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, made a statement shortly after 9.30 p.m. ET Tuesday apologizing for the way the situation was handled and announcing Dawe's departure from the position.

Rather than that, he will meet with survivors of sexual misbehavior to assess how he can help bring about cultural change in the military, according to Allen's statement.

"Many people, including members of the Canadian Armed Forces, victims, survivors, and stakeholders, learned of Major-General Dawe's return to work via the media," Allen wrote.

"This is inconsistent with our commitment to openness. I am aware of and regret the hurt this has caused. We should have handled the announcement of this news with greater care and attention."

Crisis of wrongdoing

The military is currently experiencing a sexual misconduct crisis, with a number of senior officers on leave due to various charges. The military and defense department have pledged cultural transformation, but this newest action, according to military culture experts, is a setback.

Megan MacKenzie, a professor at Simon Fraser University, said she was "disgusted," adding that the military's treatment of Dawe's case demonstrates the military is clamping down on protecting senior commanders.

A senior Canadian military officer who was placed on leave earlier this year for writing a letter in support of a soldier convicted of sexual assault has returned to work on military sexual misconduct investigations. Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe has been assigned with the responsibility of assessing, synthesizing, and integrating recommendations from external sexual misconduct reviews, which has raised concerns and doubts among some sexual assault survivors and experts. 2:02

Allen stated in her statement that it was her responsibility to study Dawe's case and make recommendations for his future employment while he was on leave. Allen explained that she considered the punishment taken against him at the time and his determination to continue his "personal and institutional growth."

Dawe was subsequently rehired to assist in "coordinating and synchronizing" efforts to assist others in their efforts to effect institutional change, Allen explained. However, the military has not stated when Dawe began his new role.

[Maj.-Gen.] Dawe was to work for me in that manner, assisting others in their work "Allen composed.

"That is not the case any longer."

The Acting Chief of Defence Staff expressed regret.

Allen stated that for the time being, Dawe will speak with sexual assault survivors about how he might "contribute to significant culture change" within the military.

While Allen made the proposal, the decision to move Dawe into this job was taken by Acting Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre, according to the defence minister's office.

Eyre faced backlash in the spring for defending Dawe and made his own apology.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, Eyre was the senior officer in charge of Dawe's regiment — the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) — when he wrote a character reference letter for a convicted sex offender who was also a former soldier.

Additionally, the PPCLI provided a judge with a favorable character reference for the same soldier prior to Maj. Jonathan Hamilton's punishment. Hamilton was found guilty of sexually abusing former military captain Annalise Schamuhn and attacking her husband, Kevin Schamuhn, who is also a PPCLI member.

The Schamuhns asserted that the military's subsequent assignment of Dawe to a different function in the sexual misconduct investigation created concerns.

"As regrettable as it is that this error occurred, it is encouraging that CAF leadership acted on comments from those most impacted," Annalise Schamuhn said late Tuesday.

A retired military couple reveals the 'heinous treachery' they endured.
A retired military couple reveals
A retired military couple reveals the 'heinous treachery' they endured.

Kevin and Annalise Schamuhn discuss what it was like when senior military commanders chose to assist a convicted sexual offender who assaulted Annalise and why they are speaking out now. 7:45

As outrage erupted throughout the military ranks in the aftermath of the CBC's April story, Eyre later apologized to military members for adding to their anguish by allowing Dawe to assume his new job. In May, he placed Dawe on paid leave.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's office has yet to confirm whether the minister was informed of the military's recent decision to promote Dawe to the new position.

Following the latest incident, calls for Sajjan's dismissal have increased.

Opposition parties have revived their call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to dismiss Sajjan in light of this newest episode, which they have described as alarming and an example of bad leadership.

"These are not the actions of men who take sexual assault and harassment seriously," NDP MPs Randall Garrison and Lindsay Mathyssen said in a statement to the media.

The New Democratic Party and Conservatives
The New Democratic Party and Conservatives are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to remove Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan from his position when Trudeau presents his new cabinet. Conservatives also want Sajjan to clarify whether he was briefed about the military's contentious decision to assign Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe to a new job.

Conservative MP James Bezan, the party's defence critic, said Sajjan should clarify whether he was aware of the military's choice to assign Dawe to the position. The Conservatives have regularly called for Sajjan to resign or for Trudeau to fire him over the last year.

"It is apparent that Harjit Sajjan has failed the Canadian Armed Forces' women and men," Bezan stated. "Mr. Sajjan must respond to the question of whether he was aware of this decision. He is the one who bears the responsibility."

Support groups for military members who have suffered sexual trauma have expressed dissatisfaction with the department following the recent news regarding Dawe's new post.

The Survivor Perspective Consulting Group is a volunteer organization dedicated to providing survivor-led training and courses on how to deal with sexual assault. Maj. Donna Riguidel, the organization's co-founder, stated that news of Dawe's appointment left her volunteers feeling "silenced and neglected once again."

"Canada needs an effective military, and those who serve in uniform deserve trusted leadership," she stated.

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