The Navy is disciplining the former head of Naval Fleet School Atlantic over allegations of inappropriate and damaging comments that are of a sexual nature, TBEN News has learned.
Sources said the Navy had temporarily withdrawn Cmdr. Danny Croucher heading CFB Halifax training school during a complaint investigation in 2020 and he did not return to his command post afterwards.
In a statement, the Royal Canadian Navy confirmed that Croucher had been investigated but did not disclose further details, citing confidentiality rules. Croucher is currently working as part of the COVID-19 response and management team with Maritime Forces Atlantic, the Navy said.
“Cmdr. Croucher was investigated in 2020 for alleged misconduct, ”said Lt.-Cmdr. Jordan Holder, Director of Naval Public Affairs. “As this was an administrative action, the results and subsequent actions (if any) are protected under the Privacy Act.
“All forms of misconduct are totally unacceptable and have no place in the Canadian Armed Forces. These behaviors have a negative impact on our collective well-being, our morale and our operational efficiency.
The Navy said Croucher declined to respond to TBEN News’ request for comment.
Sources said the Navy was taking “administrative action” against Croucher, who served in the military for 28 years. According to the Canadian Armed Forces website, administrative action could lead to a series of outcomes, including corrective action, job transfer, demotion or release from the military.
Croucher is the second director of a military training school in recent months to be temporarily removed from his post during an investigation, sources say. Global News reported in May that Lt. Col. Raphaël Guay resigned from his post as Commander of the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence for alleged misconduct.
The Canadian Armed Forces are in the midst of a crisis over their management of sexual misconduct and several senior leaders are under investigation. The acting chief of staff, the lieutenant general. Wayne Eyre said aspects of Canada’s military culture “must and will change” and launched a new external review.
Allegation related to time spent supervising a naval school
Sources said Croucher’s case was linked to a complaint alleging he made sexual comments while in charge of the training school. He started in the role in June 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The Halifax Naval Fleet School is where sailors study and develop their skills for naval operations in Canada and abroad. The training includes operations at sea, maintenance and repairs, as well as war training.
Between 400 and 600 sailors usually take courses there at any given time. The training is conducted by more than 300 staff, including some civilian employees, the navy said.
The Navy did not confirm the result of Croucher’s investigation, but said it took every allegation seriously. His case was handled by the chain of command as a human resources issue rather than by the military police since the complaint was not considered a criminal matter, the sources said.
Julie Lalonde, women’s rights activist and public educator, said she was particularly concerned about such allegations from military education circles.
“We are told that they are taking people off the streets and turning them into these members of the forces,” Lalonde said. “There is this idea in the forces that you deactivate as an individual and rebuild as a soldier. So I think we have to be particularly concerned about these incidents that are happening in these contexts.
“It’s teaching these people that this is the proper way to behave and this is the standard we set for you.”
Lalonde said she was disappointed but not surprised after her own experience at Royal Military College. It went public in 2015 and said she was verbally assaulted by Royal Military College cadets after being asked to speak last fall about preventing sexual assault.
The government has tasked former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbor to lead an external review of sexual harassment and misconduct in the military. The Department of National Defense (DND) also created a new position of “Chief Conduct and Professionalism”, now held by the Lieutenant General. Jennie Carignan.
Over a dozen senior military leaders have been drawn into the sexual misconduct crisis of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is investigating allegations against former Chief of the Defense Staff, General Jonathan Vance and his successor, Admiral Art McDonald. Vance told Global News he denies the allegation and McDonald has not commented publicly.
The Quebec prosecutor’s office is now ruling on possible charges against the Major-General. Dany Fortin following an investigation by a branch of the military police into a historical allegation of sexual misconduct.
Fortin denies the allegation. After his appearance, he stepped down from his position leading the deployment of vaccine logistics in Canada.
Brigadier-General Simon Bernard also left his post at the Public Health Agency of Canada this month – just days after Fortin left – following a complaint he used racist language at work. Contacted by TBEN News last week, a DND spokesperson said Bernard would not comment at this point.
Former Army Chief of Staff Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson was permanently replaced last month and is under investigation after a three-decade-old rape allegation was brought against him – which he denies.
major-general. Peter Dawe, the former Special Forces Commander, has been put on paid leave after writing a letter of support to a soldier convicted of sexual assault.
The former commander of the country’s military operations, Lieutenant-General. Christopher Coates, is retiring after Postmedia reported that he had an affair with a civilian in the US Department of Defense while serving as Deputy Commander of NORAD.