Charges against a high-ranking military officer accused of sexual assault and sexual exploitation were dropped Friday in an Edmonton courtroom.
Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker was arrested in July 2015 on 10 charges that included allegations involving a young cadet between 1998 and 2007 in Edmonton.
Three of the charges had been withdrawn in August. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Vital Ouellette on Friday approved a motion brought forward by the Crown prosecutor to drop the remaining charges, including four counts of sexual exploitation and three counts of sexual assault.
“I have always maintained my innocence in this matter and am reassured that due process has resulted in the withdrawal of all charges,” Stalker said in a written statement. “I am very grateful for my partner, family, friends and colleagues, who have always known I’m innocent and stood by me through this nightmare.”
The allegations were investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which confirmed the charges against Stalker related to a single individual, whose age was not released. The Canadian Cadet Organizations said the charges stemmed from Stalker’s time spent as a mentor with the 2551 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in Edmonton.
Stalker, who has had a career spanning more than two decades, was in 2014 appointed commander of the 1st Batallion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Edmonton. He led the military in its northern Saskatchewan wildfire response in 2015. He also received two Meritorious Service Medals for his role in Canada’s war in Afghanistan.
“Although I may not be a commander anymore, I’m still a leader and I have always, and will always, believe in treating others with dignity and respect,” Stalker said.
“Although I have a long path ahead to recover from the difficult strain this placed on me, my family, friends, colleagues and career, after more than 23 years of soldiering, I look forward to getting back to serving my country.”