CFB Wainwright commander Maj. David Yurczyszyn was removed from duty Thursday following allegations of sexual assault, disgraceful conduct and drunkenness.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) has charged Yurczyszyn with one count of sexual assault under the Criminal Code of Canada. He has also been charged with one count of drunkenness and one count of disgraceful conduct under the National Defence Act.
The offences are alleged to have occurred on Remembrance Day 2012.
He was removed from his position at the Alberta base Thursday morning after investigators announced the charges.
However, public affairs officer Lt. Jessica MacDonald said the decision to remove Yurczyszyn from command was independent of the charges he is now facing.
In a release from the Department of National Defence, Deputy Commanding Officer Maj. Kevin Cadman said that "all members of the Canadian Armed Forces are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate and professional manner at all times."
"The CFNIS and the military police consider these charges to be significant and have taken action accordingly," he added.
For now, the CFNIS is not confirming when the complaint was actually filed.
MacDonald said the military will also be conducting an independent administrative review of Yurczyszyn’s file in order to determine whether they will be taking any further action on the case.
Yurczyszyn joined the Canadian Forces in 1995, and spent much of his career stationed at CFB Petawawa northwest of Ottawa. He has been deployed to Afghanistan twice and to Bosnia once.
Yurczyszyn faced a court martial in 2002 after being accused of conspiring to secretly videotape a woman having sex.
Yurczyszyn’s voice was identified in the covertly taped homemade sex video, which was recorded in the married quarters at CFB Kingston in September 2000. Yurczyszyn is heard goading on another officer, and saying “get her while she’s drunk.”
He was charged with behaving in a disgraceful manner and conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline under the National Defence Act.
At the time, Yurczyszyn’s lawyer said that his client had been “in the wrong place at the time.”
Although both charges were ultimately dismissed, Canadian Forces Judge Jim Price said that Yurczyszyn may not have been blameless, adding that “the accused was arguably more than a common bystander ... [Yurczyszyn] may even be said to have assisted.”
There was not enough evidence to support a conviction, added Price.
Yurczyszyn was appointed commanding officer at CFB Wainwright in June 2012.
CFB Wainwright is located about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.