Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he found out about the investigation into Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who had been the public face of the vaccine distribution drive, a few weeks ago, but not the details of the sexual misconduct allegations.
Fortin left the post on Friday after an allegation of sexual misconduct was raised. Sources told CBC News on Friday that the sexual misconduct allegation against Fortin predated 2015 and the start of Operation Honour, the military's now-defunct campaign to stamp out inappropriate behaviour in the ranks.
The confidential sources, who could not speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the file, would not specify the nature of the allegation. On Sunday, however, CTV News reported that the allegation involved a claim of indecent exposure more than 30 years old, dating from when Fortin attended the Royal Military College in St-Jean, Quebec.
"It is being led and followed up appropriately by appropriate authorities and military leadership. In situations like this, those authorities can make a determination to inform me and my office, which they did in this case a number of weeks ago," said Trudeau on Tuesday, during his first media availability since the news first broke.
"However because, as is appropriate, I didn't receive details of what is being alleged and what's going on in terms of the investigation, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that investigation."
Fortin's lawyer, Cmdr. Marc Létourneau, said his client found out about the allegations this weekend and will fight the claim.
"It is a news reporter who informed Major-General Fortin of the allegation against him Sunday, May 16," Letourneau said in a written statement.
"This took him completely by surprise. He vigorously and categorically denies this allegation."
With files from Murray Brewster and Ashley Burke
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