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This article was published 16/7/2012 (1533 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was a dirty secret that remained hidden within a small segment of Manitoba's legal community for nearly a decade.
But now a sex scandal has been laid before the Canadian Judicial Council, the national body that governs the conduct of all judges.
Evidence was submitted Monday at the public hearing that will determine the fate of Manitoba Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas.
The judicial council had cautioned it didn't want the rare proceeding to turn into a spectacle. But any hope of that faded as soon as the first witness began testifying. Alex Chapman immediately began to give explicit evidence about group sex, "white princesses," bondage and domination.
Douglas wasn't in the crowded, humid federal courtroom on Monday to hear the allegations against her. She is expected to testify near the end of the hearing. But she was clearly the focal point of the five-justice panel that must determine if she is fit to remain on the bench.
Chapman, the man who accuses her of sexually harassing him, didn't mask his feelings. He will return today to continue his testimony.
"It's almost like she was sexually depraved," Chapman told the panel.
There was no way Douglas wasn't aware her husband, lawyer Jack King, was trying to entice him and other black men he knew into joining their sexual world by sending him sado-masochistic pictures of Douglas, he said.
"The impression I got is (Douglas and King) were into this crazy sex stuff, but he wanted to go further. I'm under the impression she had to know. She clearly posed for those pictures. She's a lawyer. She's intelligent. She can't be that naive," he said.
Chapman admitted he has a history of filing civil lawsuits and small-claims suits, and has a criminal past that resulted in a pardon. But he stood by his story. He denied having any interest in a relationship with either Douglas or King and offered a variety of remedies to anyone who thinks he is lying -- being hypnotized, taking a polygraph test or having the FBI analyze his diary entries to confirm they were written when he claims they were.
"I just wanted this to stop. I had no intention of going through with this nonsense," Chapman said.
He also suggested anyone who doubts his claims might do so because he is black.
"My skin is black and I'm in a society where minorities don't really get favours," he said.
In court documents, Douglas has painted herself as a victim of her husband's "unimaginable betrayal in pursuit of mad and undisclosed fantasy." She said she had no idea what he was doing with Chapman, his client in a 2003 divorce proceeding.
Douglas was a lawyer at the time and wasn't called to the bench until 2005.
But Chapman testified Monday he believed Douglas was excited about the potential of expanding her sexual repertoire. Chapman said he was disgusted but felt like he had no choice but to go along with King's advances.
"He was always yelling at me, like bullying. He messed with my head, the man got into my head. I just wanted a divorce," Chapman said. "He was brainwashing me with this stupidness."
Chapman testified King began asking him questions about his personal life and invited him to coffee and lunch near the end of his divorce trial. But he said King only wanted to talk about Douglas, telling him to visit a porn website called Dark Cavern and look under the heading of "white princesses." It was there Chapman first saw the explicit bondage photos of Douglas.
King sent several more photos in emails, he said.
Members of the judicial council panel looked at 35 photos of Douglas on Monday.
"I had no intention of going through with this nonsense," Chapman testified through tears.
He said he may not have explicitly told King he wasn't interested, saying his lawyer "had control over me. I believed my lawyer was there to protect me. He raped my mind."
Chapman and King agreed to a $25,000 confidentiality settlement in 2003 but in 2010, Chapman filed a $67-million lawsuit against the couple and the law firm where they worked. The lawsuit was later dropped and King pleaded guilty to a charge of professional misconduct.
The Law Society of Manitoba reprimanded him and ordered him to pay $13,650 in legal fees.
He has since returned to his practice.
Douglas has been on leave from the bench since August 2010 because of the judicial council investigation.
During the vetting process to become a judge, Douglas was asked whether anything in her past or present could reflect negatively on her or the judiciary. She answered "no." This is the basis of one of the council's allegations.
Douglas has blasted that charge, saying what happened was "well-known in the legal community" and even by the judicial committee that appointed her -- right down to details about the nude photos. The chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench was aware of the issue and supported her bid to become a judge, court documents state.
Douglas also takes issue with allegations she can no longer serve as a judge because of the public availability of the photos. She said Chapman is to blame for the exposure they have received as a result of violating the 2003 confidentiality agreement he struck with King.
Allegations against judge Lori Douglas
HERE are the four allegations Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Lori Douglas is facing at a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry. None of the allegations has been proven and Douglas has issued her own strongly worded rebuttal denying any wrongdoing. It is only the eighth time in the council's 40-year history an inquiry has been ordered. The panel can recommend Douglas be removed from the bench.
1. Alleged sexual harassment of Alex Chapman
Did Lori Douglas, along with her husband, Jack King, carry out specific acts meant to persuade Alex Chapman to have a sexual relationship with her?
Did Douglas know, or should she have known, that specific sexual conduct claimed by Chapman was unwanted and would cause him discomfort, offence or humiliation?
2. Alleged failure to disclose in the applications process
Did Douglas deliberately mislead the selection committee in 2005 when answering "no" to a question about whether there was anything in her past that could negatively reflect on her or the judiciary?
Did Douglas deliberately mislead the selection committee in 2005 by failing to disclose that graphic sexual pictures of her were taken in 2002 and 2003? Did Douglas deliberately mislead the selection committee in 2005 by failing to disclose that her husband tried to entice Chapman into having a sexual relationship with her in 2003?
3. Alleged incapacity as a result of the public availability of the photos
Do the nude photos of Douglas, which continue to be available online, impact the image and integrity of the judiciary and undermine the public's confidence in the justice system?
4. Did Douglas deliberately withhold or mislead independent counsel about a modification in her personal day planner concerning a 2003 encounter with Chapman?