NEWS

Judge's husband calls her 'victim' in sex scandal

07/25/2012 01:39 EDT | Updated 09/24/2012 05:12 EDT
The husband of a Manitoba judge under investigation at a judicial inquiry said he borrowed $25,000 from his wife to pay off a man to keep quiet about a sexual harassment complaint.

Jack King said he and his wife, Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, never discussed in detail his communications with Alex Chapman, or the racy naked photos of Douglas that King had posted on the internet.

King said he did tell Douglas that he solicited Chapman to have sex with her, and had provided some naked photos to him.

He told Douglas in June 2003, after Chapman asked King's legal firm to pay $100,000 for his silence on the allegations.

Both King and Douglas worked at the firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman at the time.

A confidentiality agreement was reached, with King paying Chapman $25,000 on the condition he return all photos and never publicly discuss what had happened.

But Chapman went public in 2010 with accusations of being sexually harassed by Douglas and King. That is what prompted the present inquiry by the Canadian Judicial Council.

Chapman was under intense scrutiny as the inquiry heard his testimony last week.

King, who began testifying last Friday, right after Chapman was finished, has told the inquiry that Douglas was never involved in his plan to seek out sexual partners.

He has said he posted pics to a porn website called Dark Cavern, that is designed to arrange interracial sexual encounters. King posted the some 35 pictures in a section called wives and black lovers.

King told the inquiry Tuesday that his behaviour was "bizarre" and "grotesque." But he says Douglas knew nothing about his actions, and was devastated when the scandal first erupted in 2003.

Removal from bench

The CJC is examining whether Douglas should be removed from the bench over the online photos, and over allegations she was involved in King's solicitation of Chapman.

The council will also investigate whether Douglas should she have disclosed the story when she was applying to be a judge.

She was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench (family division) in 2005, and later promoted to associate chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench (family division) in 2009.

During the application process to become a judge, one of the screening questions asks applicants if there is anything in their background that would negatively impact the judiciary.

Douglas answered "no" on her application.

In a statement filed by her lawyers in early June, Douglas said she answered that way because people already knew, including the chief justice of Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench.

Douglas has denied any wrongdoing and said she should not be penalized for her husband's actions, which she called "acts of unimaginable betrayal, in pursuit of a mad and undisclosed fantasy."

On Wednesday, King said the scandal was "reasonably well known" in the legal community

"The scandal was out there. I was the perpetrator, she was the victim," he said.

The Douglas inquiry is way behind schedule and will decide Wednesday how to handle it.

It is scheduled to end Friday, but only four witnesses have been on the stand and there are 10 more to go.

The panel will decide whether it will continue to hear arguments in September or possibly even November.

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