News: No private manner

Published in the July 2 2010 issue of The Edmonton Sun. News

No private manner

An Edmonton-based soldier has been reprimanded and fined after admitting to being involved in an “inappropriate situation” with a lower-ranking private under his command while overseas.

Capt. Michael Gough was second in command of B Squadron Lord Strathcona’s Horse, based out of Edmonton, when he was caught in a so-called offence of misconduct while in Cyprus, just days before returning home to Canada in April. He was previously in Afghanistan.

“The captain admitted to the particulars (misconduct), which allowed me to make a finding of guilty,” Commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Col. Omer Lavoie, told QMI Agency this week.

“I awarded him the second-highest punishment I could award, which was a reprimand.”

Gough was also fined $2,000 last month.

Lavoie explained this reprimand will have “significant career implications” for Gough, in terms of future employment, appointments and promotion.

The captain, who is married, was set to take on a “career-enhancing” job before the incident.

“Now he’s heading to a job that is not as significant,” Lavoie said.

Gough was leading an armoured squadron of about 180 soldiers before the incident occurred in Cyprus.

Time spent in Cyprus after a tour in Afghanistan is meant to transition soldiers from combat operations back to Canadian normalcy.

Gough’s actions are considered severe and had the incident been left unchecked, Lavoie said it could have had detrimental effects on soldiers and other leaders in the Canadian Forces.

“But by addressing it and by awarding fairly significant punishment, it sends a very clear signal to both leadership and our soldiers that this sort of behaviour is not tolerated.”

The female trooper involved in the incident, where alcohol had been consumed, has yet to be charged or put to trial. Her name was not released.

Lavoie says this “inappropriate” situation involving a leader and a subordinate is rare.

But the incident comes shortly after Canada’s former top soldier Brig.-Gen Daniel Menard was relieved from his duties over allegations of an inappropriate romantic relationship with another Canadian soldier.

Menard has since been posted to head a team developing a new computerized personnel system for the Canadian Forces.

Prior to allegations of Menard’s inappropriate relationship, Menard had been slated to lead Land Force Quebec Area, which is responsible for all Canadian army operations and administration in the province.

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