Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sexual Harassment, Expense Account Allegations Dropped against 'Nude' Judge

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sexual Harassment, Expense Account Allegations Dropped against 'Nude' Judge

Article excerpt

'Nude' judge sex harassment charge nixed

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TORONTO - A senior Manitoba judge whose husband posted nude photographs of her on the Internet without telling her will no longer have to defend herself against sexual harassment allegations as part of a bitter fight to keep her job, The Canadian Press has learned.

Documents show a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry panel -- the second struck after the first one quit -- has quietly decided against looking into whether Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas was involved in sexually harassing a former client of her husband's before she became a judge.

The allegation featured prominently in the first round of hearings, which collapsed in acrimony amid accusations the committee was biased against the family court judge.

The decision to drop the complaint, according to a source, was made during a recent case conference call on the advice of the committee's independent counsel, Suzanne Cote.

The committee, however, will still deal with three other allegations related to the intimate images that could lead to Douglas's removal from the bench.

"The photos could be seen as inherently contrary to the image and concept of integrity of the judiciary," the complaint notice against Douglas states.

"The confidence of individuals appearing before the judge, or of the public in its justice system, could be undermined."

The committee will also probe allegations that Douglas failed to disclose information related to the pictures when she applied to become a judge, and that she altered her personal diary when she discovered the judicial council investigation into her conduct.

Her lawyers have long maintained the disciplinary proceedings amount to revictimizing a woman already hurt by her husband's betrayal in making public the images he took -- a point they plan to make at the end of the month in preliminary motions to have the allegations dismissed.

"Public opinion has developed to recognize that victims of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images should not be punished or blamed, and that the perpetrators have committed morally reprehensible invasions of privacy that ought to be punished," her lawyers state in their notice of motion. …

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