'Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?' - Judge asked alleged rape victim
Published 10/09/2016 | 10:27
A Canadian judge is facing the possibility of removal from the bench after he faulted a 19-year-old woman who said she was raped for not doing enough to defend herself during the alleged attack and suggesting that she wanted to have sex.
Among Federal Court Justice Robin Camp's remarks during a 2014 sexual assault trial, according to a notice of allegations posted on the Canadian Judicial Council website:
"Why couldn't you just keep your knees together? Why didn't you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn't penetrate you?"
Young women, the judge said, "want to have sex, particularly if they're drunk," according to the notice.
He also said that "some sex and pain sometimes go together" and "that's not necessarily a bad thing."
Camp's controversial remarks resulted in an investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council, a federal body that polices judges.
He is expected to testify Friday before a five-member committee as part of a week-long proceeding that began Tuesday and will end next week in Calgary, Alberta.
The committee will decide on Camp's fate after hearing evidence and testimony.
Camp made the comments during a five-day trial in June 2014. At the time, he was appointed to the Alberta Provincial Court Criminal Division in Calgary. He became a federal judge last year.
The woman had accused a Calgary man, Alexander Wagar, of raping her over a bathroom sink during a house party.
Camp acquitted Wagar in September 2014. The woman appealed, and the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned Camp's ruling, according to a statement of facts. Wagar is scheduled for a second trial in November.
The Canadian Judicial Council's investigation began in November 2015, after four law professors filed a complaint against Camp, who later recused himself from any cases involving sex crimes, according to the statement of facts.
Members of the public later followed suit in filing complaints.
In December, the Alberta attorney general filed a formal complaint against Camp and referred the matter to what's called an "inquiry committee," which is made up of three judges and two lawyers.
The committee will decide whether Camp should be removed from the bench.
According to the notice of allegations, Camp's "rude and derogatory" comments "belittle(d) and trivialize(d) the nature of the allegations." He also made "stereotypical assumptions about how someone confronted with sexual assault would or would not behave."
The woman, whose identity has been concealed, said the judge's remarks made her hate herself, CBC News reported.
"He made me feel like I should have done something, like I was some kind of a slut," she said.
During the proceeding, Camp's daughter, who said she herself is a rape victim, testified that her father's comments were "disgraceful."
But, she said, she stands behind her father, according to CBC News.
Lauren Camp wrote that although her father is "old-fashioned in some ways" and does not completely understand "how women think," he is not "an inherent or dedicated sexist," CBC News reported.
"I have seen him advance in understanding and empathy for victims, vulnerable litigants and those who have experienced trauma," she wrote.
Camp has since apologized for his conduct. His attorney, Frank Addario, argued that Camp has "consistently shown remorse," records say, and has taken steps "to educate himself and gain insight into his beliefs."
Addario also argued that although Camp made "insensitive and inappropriate" comments, his misconduct can be "remedied by education" and does not warrant removal from office, records say.
Camp also has gone through mentoring, counseling about how victims of abuse respond to trauma, and a crash course on the history and current state of sexual assault law.
Records say Camp did not receive any training or judicial education on sexual assault law or how to preside over sexual assault trials.
A law professor who called Camp's comments "rude and stupid" testified Thursday that she had five educational sessions with Camp and believes he is now familiar with how to deal with sexual assault cases, CBC News reported.
The 64-year-old judge is married with three children. He grew up in South Africa and attended the University of Stellenbosch, where he received degrees in commerce and law, according to a statement of facts from the Canadian Judicial Council.
He later practiced as a barrister in Johannesburg and has represented members of the African National Congress.
Camp moved his family to Botswana in 1992, then to Calgary in 1998.
His practice in Canada mostly focused on contractual, trust, oil and gas, and bankruptcy litigation.
In March 2012, he was appointed to the Alberta Provincial Court Criminal Division in Calgary. He became a federal judge in June 2015.
Independent News Service