Thirty-four years ago, when he was 19 and a cadet at Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, Que., Dany Fortin, who rose to the rank of major-general, allegedly “took it out” in the presence of a female.
Just the allegation, which he denies, has already cost him dearly.
He has been fired from his job in the Canadian military, without anything in the way of what I would consider due process.
The accusation was made in March by a woman who has not been named and that was enough to get him fired and the case referred to police.
Now I shouldn’t have to explain what allegedly was taken out, but just in case there are still some naive individuals out there I will spell it out: He is accused of taking his penis out of his pants and displaying it to a young woman who was in his presence.
I am all in favour of the Me-Too Movement and what it is doing to bring sexual predators and abusers to account, but something really stinks in this one.
We have had several high-ranking officers in our military face a wave of accusations of inappropriate sexual behaviour in recent times but Fortin’s situation doesn’t come close to what they are accused of having done.
He wasn’t at it long term. He, as far as we know from news reports, just took it out once.
I am having trouble understanding why the accusation of his taking it out was even made public.
Why wouldn’t there have been an internal investigation to determine if there was anything to the allegation?
But then I have to ask myself, what could there have been in the way of an investigation?
We have the woman’s accusation, made 32 years later for whatever reason, and really nothing else. Yet government and military officials pulled the trigger.
As a result, Fortin is suing for the loss of his job, claiming “procedural unfairness” in his termination.
No kidding. He wasn’t allowed to present a defence, just axed, immediately finding himself suffering a much greater penalty than what his alleged crime would have brought.
“The reputation I have built up over three decades of service to my country has been irreparably tarnished by the decision to announce publicly an investigation into my alleged conduct,” he said in regard to his lawsuit, “exacerbated by the fact the announcement lacked the context that the investigation relates to a single allegation of misconduct dating back over 30 years.”
Actually, men don’t usually take it out in the presence of a woman unless something in the way of a welcoming nature, such as foreplay even as limited as necking, has taken place.
However, I will admit there are some who just like to show off.
In Fortin’s case, we know nothing of what went on.
We don’t know if it took place in an apartment or a car? We don’t know what the woman did after she saw that it had been taken out. Did she slap him? Did she leave? Did she see him again? Was it a one-time date or had she seen Fortin several times leading up to the alleged incident?
If she didn’t think it warranted reporting at the time, what motivated her to report it now?
I realize a lot of women take years before reporting sexual assault or abuse they have endured, but in such cases there is usually much more involved than someone just taking it out.
Now I am not defending anyone just taking it out, especially if the other party has no idea this is about to happen.
But somehow I don’t look at taking it out, with nothing in the way of unwanted touching involved, as being as serious as it is being made out to be here.
I recall a Seinfeld segment where Elaine reported to the crew that a fellow she was on a date with had taken it out.
As far as she was concerned it was the end of any possibility of a romantic relationship with him but, other than spreading the word, she left it at that.
In most cases regarding sex assault I am OK with the woman not being named.
I am not in this one because of the way it has played out.
Hiding behind her anonymity, she has destroyed the career of a 53-year-old man who probably had one last promotion coming his way.
As such I think she should be identified so they can go head-to-head on this thing wherever it ends up, although I can’t see that being in a court of law even though it has been turned over to police.
If Fortin hadn’t been named I wouldn’t be saying this; I would be saying don’t name either of them. But since it is long past that, with Fortin being named and his career destroyed, I believe the woman’s name should be made public.
I can’t see police moving ahead with what would be a 32-year-old case of she-said he-said., with nothing in the way of evidence for them to lay their hands on.
I believe the only way out of this travesty of justice is to reinstate Fortin, unless the woman comes forward and shows she has something credible to back up her claim.
I SEE ROBBIE DIRENZO, owner of Muio’s, has said that the iconic restaurant is only closed temporarily, until he and his family decide whether to sell it.
He was responding to rumours that the restaurant was being closed permanently.
The thing I found strange about his statement is that when closing something temporarily, an owner of a business normally doesn’t cancel the phone, considering how little it costs to keep it active.
I also think it would be easier and more profitable to sell a restaurant that is operating, rather than one that is dormant.