Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

High price imposed for breach of pact in judicial sex scandal

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Alex Chapman went public with sexual-harassment allegations nearly two years ago, which led to his former divorce lawyer being sanctioned and put the future of a Manitoba judge in jeopardy.

But Chapman's decision is going to cost him. The Winnipeg man has been ordered to repay the $25,000 he received in 2003 as part of an out-of-court settlement of the matter.

He will also have to cover the legal fees of lawyer Jack King, expected to be in the range of $10,000, and faces a permanent injunction barring him from possessing or distributing more nude photos of King's wife, Lori Douglas.

Chapman failed to show up in court Thursday to deal with a legal motion on the issue. He also instructed his lawyer, Paul Walsh, not to attend.

That opened the way for Queen's Bench Justice Chris Martin to rubber-stamp the default judgment against Chapman, based on the evidence he repeatedly violated the $25,000 confidentiality agreement. "He is in gross breach of that," King's lawyer, Bill Gange, told court.

In 2003, King was Chapman's divorce lawyer and tried to solicit him to have sex with his wife, Douglas, also a lawyer at the time.

King admits sending explicit bondage photos of his wife to Chapman. When the plan was exposed, King agreed to pay Chapman $25,000 to drop the matter.

In exchange, Chapman was to turn over any photos of Douglas he might have and never speak about the subject.

But in 2010, Chapman filed a $67-million lawsuit against the couple and the law firm where they worked. Photos of Douglas were leaked online.

The lawsuit was later dropped, and King pleaded guilty to a Law Society of Manitoba charge of professional misconduct. He was reprimanded and ordered to pay $13,650 in legal fees. He has since returned to his law practice.

Douglas has been on leave from the bench since August 2010 and the Canadian Judicial Council recently filed formal allegations against her that will be the subject of a hearing to begin next month in Winnipeg. The council cites four areas of concern: alleged sexual harassment of Chapman, failing to disclose the issue to the judicial selection committee in 2005, her ability to serve as a judge, given the existence of the photos, and questions about her truthfulness with investigators.

Douglas filed a detailed response last week denying all the allegations and painting herself as the true victim in the case at the hands of her husband and Chapman. She said she had no knowledge of the sexual discussions about her between the two men or that the photos of her were distributed at the time.

King's lawyer told court Thursday there is ongoing concern Chapman is continuing to victimize Douglas by breaching terms of the 2003 settlement and a further temporary injunction ordered last year.

"Does he have possession of other things? I can't give evidence. Do I have a concern? No question I have a concern," Gange said. "I certainly have a very large concern the order was never complied with, the injunction was never complied with. I just can't prove it -- yet."

Martin plans to issue a decision next week on a permanent injunction against Chapman and will detail how much of King's legal fees Chapman must pay.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2012 A8

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