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Accuser’s credibility attacked at judge sex inquiry

07/17/2012 03:56 EDT | Updated 09/16/2012 05:12 EDT
The credibility of a man who claims he was sexually harassed by a Manitoba judge was attacked during a second day of hearings at a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry into the matter.

The inquiry is examining allegations made by Alex Chapman, who claims he was the target of a sexual plan by Lori Douglas, an associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, and her husband, Jack King, in 2003. At the time, King was Chapman's divorce lawyer and Douglas was a lawyer at the same firm as her husband.

The council will also decide whether Douglas should be removed from the bench — a rare move in Canada — because of Chapman's complaint and because explicit photos of her in bondage gear and engaging in sex acts were posted to a site on the internet.

During questioning Tuesday afternoon, Sheila Block, counsel for Douglas, brought up Chapman's dismissal from Great-West Life in 2011. Chapman has blamed his dismissal from the insurance firm on his issues with Douglas and her husband.

She showed Chapman a letter of termination he received from the firm in 2010, and Chapman testified he had never seen it.

That's when Block produced copies of the letter she said were found on the hard drive of his computer. Block alleged the letter had been altered to delete a line where Great-West Life said he was being terminated because he falsely claimed to have a degree from Concordia University.

Chapman admitted the degree listed on his job resumé was false. He said he took courses at a school affiliated with Concordia University in Montreal, but never got a university degree.

Chapman also acknowledged receiving $135,000 last year when he sold his stake in a Winnipeg jazz club. He did not declare that money when he applied for a publicly funded lawyer in the preceding two years because he didn't consider it as income, as it was used to pay off the club's debts.

In testimony Tuesday morning, Chapman erupted in anger, saying he had "no faith in the system" because it had taken two years to get underway and calling the inquiry itself "a bloody coverup."

"You guys have no idea what I've been going through to get the complaint to you guys," Chapman said. "You seized my computer. Did you seize Jack King's computer?"

He called Douglas and King "a bunch of liars" who " took advantage of me when I was at the lowest point of my life. They're powerful people."

Harassment claims

Chapman alleges he was the target of a sexual plan by Douglas and King in 2003.

Chapman, who is black, alleges he was approached by King to have sex with Douglas, and said Monday he was directed to Dark Cavern, a website dedicated to sex between black men and white women. There he found two dozen photos of Douglas, some depicting her in bondage gear or performing sex acts.

King and Douglas maintain King uploaded the photos and approached Chapman for sex without Douglas's knowledge. The couple remain married and have said King was going through a mental breakdown at the time.

Under questioning Tuesday morning, Chapman admitted that all the phone calls, emails and other communication he had about sex were with King only.

"This is all from him. You never received anything from her, did you?," asked Kirsten Crain, one of the independent lawyers leading the inquiry.

"No," Chapman replied.

The only direct interaction between Douglas and Chapman occurred during two meetings at a downtown bar in May 2003. In the first, Chapman said, there was no flirtation. During the second, Chapman alleges Douglas touched his body as the two discussed exercise.

"She touched my muscles on my arm and … my thighs," Chapman told the inquiry. "No, we never talked about sex, no."

Chapman said he then walked Douglas back to her car while King remained at the bar, and as she left, she said she was looking forward to seeing him that weekend — which he said he took as an apparent reference to a proposal King had made to Chapman to come to the couple's home for sex.

Through affidavits and her lawyer's opening arguments, Douglas has denied ever touching Chapman, walking with him to the car or being involved in the sex plan. Douglas has said she went to the bar to meet her husband, was surprised on both occasions to see Chapman there and went home shortly afterward both times.

Douglas's lawyer, Sheila Block, has said Douglas was the unwitting victim of "unforgivable betrayal" by her husband, and should not be further penalized by losing her job.

Chapman said he cannot believe Douglas was unaware of her husband's actions.

"She knew. I mean, she was obviously talking with Jack," he said. "She can't be in no public office. That's not right.

"She had to know why she was there. [Her husband] had been trying to convince her to get into this stuff with me," Chapman testified.

The entire controversy was supposed to be over in 2003, when King paid Chapman $25,000 to settle his initial sexual harassment claim. Part of the deal was that Chapman return any explicit photos and not discuss the matter openly.

However, he went public in 2010, saying he could not keep silent any longer and the bondage photos reappeared on the internet.

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