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Naval officer given fine, reprimand for assault

Apr 27 2012

A naval officer has been given a severe reprimand and fined $8,000 for assault and harassment against a female officer he was training in a sentence handed down during a court martial Thursday at CFB Esquimalt.

Navy Lt. Loren Pearson, a 19-year veteran of the Canadian Forces, admitted making inappropriate sexual advances toward a 25-year-old officer during a deployment in American Samoa last June.

During the course of the training, Pearson, who was head of the combat system engineering department, brought up sexual topics that made the victim uncomfortable. He once suggested she sleep with him before he would sign a training form.

On June 22, after a night of drinking on shore, Pearson went behind the victim and put his hand down her pants when she was in the wardroom alone.

When the victim reported the incident, Pearson was immediately removed from the ship. The victim took a leave of absence.

The prosecutor was asking for a reduction in rank to sub-lieutenant and a fine of $3,000.

Chief military judge Col. Mario Dutil ruled Pearson's active constituted a "serious abuse of trust." He relied on sentences handed down in other cases.

Pearson was originally charged with sexual assault, public drunkenness and conduct against good order and discipline, more specifically, harassment.

The drunkenness charge was dropped and the charge reduced to assault due to the guilty plea.

Pearson is currently a naval combat system engineer with a support unit in Ottawa.

The Canadian Forces will conduct an internal review to decide whether Pearson should face any administrative discipline, which could include counselling, probation or dismissal.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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