An investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Admiral Art McDonald has concluded and will not result in any charges against Canada’s top military commander.
“The investigation did not reveal evidence to support the laying of charges under either the Code of Service Discipline or the Criminal Code of Canada,” said a statement issued by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal today.
The investigation into McDonald was handled by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), which says it interviewed “a large number of potential witnesses” connected to the case.
“The evidence gathered from these witnesses was considered in the ultimate determination that the evidence did not support the laying of any charges,” the statement continued.
CFNIS said it will not release any further details due to the privacy rights of the people involved.
McDonald was appointed as chief of the defence staff in January. He stepped aside just a month later after news of the allegations and investigation were made public.
The allegations, as CBC News has previously reported, involved a female crew member and an incident a decade ago aboard a warship that was participating in a northern exercise.
Sources with knowledge about the investigation said the incident involved alcohol aboard HMCS Montreal, which at the time was involved in the military’s annual Arctic exercise known as Operation Nanook.
The conclusion of the investigation into McDonald comes as the Canadian military grapples with an ongoing sexual misconduct crisis.
McDonald’s predecessor as chief of the defence staff, Jonathan Vance, is under investigation for separate claims of sexual misconduct. Vance was charged in July with one count of obstruction of justice related to the investigation into his behaviour.
Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, the commander of Canada’s Navy, has also been criticized after news emerged that he played golf with Vance while the investigation is underway.
The government itself, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has said that the military is in need of a cultural change in order to regain the trust of Canadians.
Other critics, including the federal Conservatives, have called for the resignation of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.