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Former Canadian Forces medical technician on trial again for sexual assault

James Wilks, whose jury trial began Monday in Thunder Bay, is accused of conducting unauthorized breast examines on prospective recruits
James Wilks pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and breach of trust charges before a jury on Monday. (File).

THUNDER BAY — A former medical technician with the Canadian Forces -— who has previously been convicted on sexual assault and breach of trust charges while serving — is standing trial again.

The jury trial for James Wilks opened in a Thunder Bay courtroom on Monday before Justice John Fregeau.   

Wilks pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual assault, three counts of breach of trust, and one count of sexual exploitation.

The charges involve three complainants, one of whom was under the age of 18 years old at the time, and date back to between 2005 and 2008. At the time, Wilks was stationed in Thunder Bay and London, Ont. as a medical assistant and then medical technician with the Canadian Forces.

The identity of the complainants is protected by a publication ban.

According to Crown attorney Rob Kozak’s opening submission, it is alleged that Wilks performed unauthorized breast examinations on potential recruits during the enrolment process.

Kozak added that Wilks, as a medical technician, was in breach of trust because of the position of authority he held over the complainants and his power to approve or deny enrolment into the Canadian Forces.

Defence counsel, David Hodson, encouraged the jury in his opening submission to consider the publicity at the time regarding sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces and money paid to victims.

“Keep the idea of cash grab alive as you listen to the evidence and the three complainants testify,” Hodson said.

A member of the Canadian Forces testified on Monday to introduce several documents relating to Canadian Forces medical examination procedures.

One of the documents stated that all personnel should be afforded maximum privacy during recruitment examinations and when an examination of breasts or genitalia is performed by a member of the opposite sex, a third individual of the same sex should be present.

The three complainants are expected to testify throughout the week. The trial is scheduled for five days.

In 2011, Wilks was convicted of sexual assault and four counts of breach of trust. He was sentenced to 11 months in custody.

Wilks was sentenced to another 30 months in custody after being found guilty of 10 counts of sexual assault and 15 counts of breach of trust.

In 2017, a five-member court martial panel in Gatineau, Que. found Wilks guilty of one count of sexual assault and three counts of breach of trust.

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Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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