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Lotion used on soldiers in ‘tickle parties,’ sex assault trial told

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CFB SHILO — A CFB Shilo soldier who accused a fellow soldier of anally penetrating him with his hand while on duty said he was unaware of so-called “tickle parties” when unsuspecting soldiers were tackled and held defenceless as their pants were pulled off and lotion placed between their bare buttocks.

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This article was published 02/02/2018 (1823 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

CFB SHILO — A CFB Shilo soldier who accused a fellow soldier of anally penetrating him with his hand while on duty said he was unaware of so-called “tickle parties” when unsuspecting soldiers were tackled and held defenceless as their pants were pulled off and lotion placed between their bare buttocks.

Military court heard on Thursday that Shilo soldiers regularly engaged in homoerotic horseplay during a 3.5-month infantry-training course in Wainwright, Alta., in late 2014.

Described by defence witness Cody Huttinga, a retired 2PPCLI soldier, as a “flash mob,” a group of soldiers would tackle an unsuspecting member to the ground, where he would be held, tickled and slapped. In some instances, the target’s pants were pulled down and A535, a rubbing lotion, was placed between his butt cheeks.

A sexual assault case heard CFB Shilo soldiers were involved in verbal, physical abuse at an Alberta training course. (FILE)

In making his accusations in court on Thursday, the complainant said he did not “recall” these activities.

However, he vividly remembered another incident, when, on the last night of training, he alleges Cpl. Reid Gobin inserted his hand up his buttocks.

The complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, said he was forcefully penetrated while clothed on Dec. 12, 2014. The complainant experienced discomfort, bleeding from his anus and “loose bowels” for a year after the incident.

Gobin adamantly denies the allegations. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual assault at the standing court martial at CFB Shilo on Thursday. He is considered innocent until proven guilty.

The accused and complainant are both members of Shilo’s 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

In his testimony, Gobin admitted he slapped his accuser on the butt on numerous occasions as a harmless greeting, something that wasn’t uncommon among the soldiers, he said.

The complainant, who Gobin said struggled to fit in with the other soldiers, initially helped hold guys to the ground during these “flash mobs,” but after he was a victim of one attempt, “he got really hostile when somebody tried to tickle him,” Gobin said.

He lashed out, dropping profanity, calling his fellow soldiers homophobic slurs or responding with punches and kicks, Gobin said.

The slaps on the accuser’s butt would continue, however, despite his objections.

“It was done in a light spirit,” said Gobin, who claimed the physical touching was never done maliciously.

He rejects ever inserting his fingers in the complainant’s buttocks.

According to the accuser, he was mopping a hallway in the barracks the day in question, when the accused unexpectedly forced his hand up his anus. He described it as a “sharp, entering pain,” which penetrated him a couple of inches.

He turned around to see Gobin, whose military rank was private at the time.

The complainant said the accused mocked him. “You liked it, f—-t,” he said.

Shocked, the complainant did not say anything to Gobin, who turned around and went down the hall.

There were no witnesses.

“The incident was short, it was sharp and it was serious,” prosecutor Maj. Greg Moorehead said.

The complainant did not report the incident immediately or seek medical treatment. He was embarrassed by what occurred and felt it was awkward to discuss it.

Two weeks later while doing laundry, he discovered a tear in his underwear, which he said was from the assault.

He experienced pain in his anus for the next year while walking and riding the bike, which left wet excrement on his underwear. He noticed blood on his toilet paper after bowel movements.

The complainant first reported the assault to a CFB Shilo chaplain in summer 2016.

During cross-examination, Gobin’s lawyer, Lt.-Cmdr. Brent Walden, was persistent in his questioning of the accused, who denied any knowledge of the aforementioned hijinks, except for the sexual assault he withstood.

Walden alleged that the accuser made up the penetration story to get back at Gobin, whom he described as a “douche” with a “pig face” in earlier interactions with military police.

The accuser said he spoke poorly of Gobin because he was the perpetrator of the sexual assault.

In his testimony, Gobin said physical contact between soldiers during the training exercise was “beyond a reasonable amount.”

Twice, fellow soldiers held him down. In one instance, A535 was spread on his butt cheeks and a Q-tip prodded into his anus.

He didn’t like it, but went along.

“It was embarrassing, sir, but I laughed (it off) with a couple of the guys,” he said.

Huttinga, who was the defence’s first witness, said teasing during the training exercise happened “all the time,” name-calling “hourly almost,” homophobic slurs levelled by “just about everybody” and butt-slapping “wasn’t out of bounds.”

“Everybody seemed to take it quite well,” he said. “It was just the nature of the job.”

He noted the complainant wasn’t part of the regular horseplay and only took part may once or twice, if he had to guess.

“I don’t think that’s the type of person he was.”

The trial will continue on Friday.

» ifroese@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @ianfroese

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