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A high-ranking military officer who is suing National Defence for making “false and malicious” sexual assault allegations against him has been promoted and will take up a significant overseas assignment, CBC News has learned.
It was announced Friday in the latest promotions list that Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker will be elevated to the rank of full colonel and appointed as the deputy chief of major operations at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
His lawsuit against both the defence department and the armed forces, which alleges military police were negligent, is ongoing.
Stalker, who as commander of the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was charged with a series of offences in 2015, including sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
The allegations involved a military cadet in Edmonton and related to events that allegedly took place between 1998 and 2007.
He was relieved as battalion commander after being charged and released on bail. The Crown in Alberta dropped all of the charges against him in the fall of 2016, saying there was no “reasonable likelihood of securing a conviction.”
Stalker insisted from the beginning that he was innocent.
He launched a lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court in May of last year alleging the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) conducted a “negligent investigation” into “false and malicious criminal allegations.”
He claimed the charges were laid after military police interviewed only a handful of witnesses and they “provided no corroboration” of the allegations. The lawsuit alleged the charges against him “lacked any evidentiary basis.”
Stalker contends that the complainant’s allegations did not correspond with the timeline of his service in the military.
He also claimed that the military issued an “inaccurate” media release which condemned him after his arrest and suggested there could be more than one victim.
The lawsuit alleged the criminal charges and the publicity surrounding the case have hurt his career, reputation and mental health.
He is asking for a total of $ 8 million in damages. None of the allegations in his statement of claim have been tested in court.
Stalker has been in the military for more than 20 years. He served in Afghanistan twice was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.