Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Judge 'horrified' photos online

King recalls day he told wife he posted nude shots to web

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When Lori Douglas learned her husband had splashed nude photos of her online, she was "distraught and horrified," her husband told a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry on Tuesday.

Jack King's confession, made over lunch at Homer's Restaurant in June 2003, came as a shock to his wife. At the time, the couple worked together at the Winnipeg law firm of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman.

"The anger came later," King said. "Frankly, she was devastated. And so was I."

As the rare judicial inquiry into Douglas's actions -- she was appointed a federal judge in 2005 -- continues into its second week, one of the main questions the five-person panel seeks to answer is whether Douglas was complicit in how King used those intimate photos.

King used the photos in 2003 to harass a former client, Alex Chapman, and asked him in conversations and emails to have sex with his wife.

King pleaded guilty to professional misconduct last year.

Douglas faces a steeper penalty. The panel could recommend she be removed from the bench. She was appointed a judge in 2005 and rose to become associate chief justice of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.

During a full day of questions and sometimes combative answers, King staunchly insisted his wife never knew he had posted 35 out of an estimated 100 to 150 intimate photos of her on a website that fetishized sex acts between white women and black men.

Nor did Douglas know King posted two ads on the website, DarkCavern.com, seeking men of colour to "seduce" his wife. And she also never knew King used those intimate photos in an attempt to entice Chapman into a sexual tryst with Douglas, King insisted.

Douglas didn't often use the computer in the basement of the family's home where many of the photos were stored, King said, and never asked about what he did with the film of their private pictures.

If any of the photos of Douglas appeared staged, King explained, his "ineptitudes as a photographer" were to blame.

And according to King's testimony, when King sent Chapman an email saying Douglas "suggested... that (Chapman) should come out" to their house for a visit, that was flat-out untrue.

"I used those words for the purposes of encouraging him to keep in the game," King said.

In reality, King told the panel, Douglas was unimpressed by Chapman after the trio first met for drinks in the spring of 2003.

And when King again invited his client to join them at Earl's Restaurant on Main Street two weeks later, he testified his wife made a hasty exit.

"She was annoyed, she was angry, she didn't finish her drink and she left," King recalled, stating Douglas had no idea he was trying to set her up with Chapman.

King's recollection of that outing sharply contrasts with Chapman's testimony. Last week, Chapman told the inquiry Douglas touched him on the bicep and leg during that encounter, and he later walked her to her car while King remained in the lounge.

King said he did not recall leaving Douglas and Chapman alone together, that he witnessed no touching, and that Douglas left the restaurant on her own. King told the inquiry he asked Chapman for a ride back to the Thompson Dorfman Sweatman office.

Though King was clear on how that encounter ended -- and on Douglas's lack of involvement -- on other questions he was less certain. Many times, he stated he could not recall how a specific discussion or meeting occurred; at other times, King appeared irascible and pushed back against inquiry lawyer Guy Pratte's questions.

"Pretty much anything's possible unless you have evidence to disprove it," King said curtly, after Pratte asked if it were possible he had met Chapman on another occasion other than those discussed. "So yes, it's possible."

Late Tuesday, the inquiry ground to a halt as King challenged Pratte on whether one piece of evidence -- which has been discussed by other witnesses -- could be admitted to the inquiry.

Earlier Tuesday, when Pratte asked King if he considered blocking Douglas's face from the photos before posting them online, the lawyer was contrite. "I didn't, and I wish I had," he said. "It's my shame and stupidity that I didn't."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 25, 2012 A3

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