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This article was published 22/7/2017 (1396 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A military court trial is expected to be set next month in the case of a still-practising medical physician at CFB Shilo who is accused of sexual and physical assault.
The scheduling conference will take place 22 months after the allegations were presented to the military.
The accuser, a former Canadian Armed Forces officer, shared her frustration with delays in the military justice system in an interview that aired nationally on CTV. The segment aired earlier this month.
The accuser, who the broadcaster agreed not to identify, claimed Capt. Steven James Nordstrom sexually assaulted her at a work-related event at a hotel in February 2015. The victim said the doctor harassed her for weeks after and physically assaulted her.
He is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
According to a Canadian Armed Forces spokesperson, the complaint was first lodged in October 2015. The accused was arrested by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service officers in January 2016, and later released on conditions. Charges were laid on July 20, 2016, and were approved by the director of military prosecutions last December.
The charges occurred "at or near the Greater Toronto Area."
The woman told CTV she feels the military has kept her in the dark. They provided her few facts about the case, only revealing some details after she hired a lawyer.
Michel Drapeau, her Ottawa-based lawyer, declined to speak to The Brandon Sun about her client’s concerns, stating he had nothing new to report.
As a physician at CFB Shilo’s 11 Canadian Forces Health Services, there are currently restrictions on Nordstrom’s practice.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Manitoba indicates on its website that a female attendant must be present as a chaperone whenever Nordstrom meets a female patient.
The college would not reveal why this stipulation was imposed.
The military introduced a stricter limitation last July by preventing Nordstrom from seeing female patients.
A military spokesperson said Canadian Forces Health Services completed a review of the officer’s patient care privileges in response to the assault accusations.
Their investigation deemed the "direct risk to patients is low," as the allegations are not proven, did not involve patients or happen in a patient care setting.
"However, given the nature of the allegations, the Deputy Surgeon General has directed that the Medical Officer in question shall only see male patients," the spokesperson wrote in an email.
Nordstrom replied via text message to The Brandon Sun that though he "would love the opportunity to rebuke the claims made against me, the appropriate time and place to do that will be in court.
"I look forward to that day, allowing me and my family to put this behind us."
In addition to the military court proceeding, Nordstrom is involved in a family court matter with a woman he was previously in a relationship with. She declined comment when contacted by the Sun.
In court documents obtained at the Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench, Nordstrom briefly alluded to the military charges.
He explained he was in a course with the woman in question and they went for drinks one night. He was invited up to her room, where they engaged in foreplay but not sexual intercourse.
"The woman asked me to stop and informed me that she was married. I immediately stopped and left, we remained friends for the remainder of the course," Nordstrom said in the affidavit.
"While I am hopeful that this matter will be stayed in the near future, I am obviously deeply embarrassed, particularly given the fact that I am a father to a young daughter."
Nordstrom went on to state he informed various departments of the allegation. He added he continues to act in place of the base’s senior medical authority/acting base surgeon when this person is not in the office.
Drapeau, the lawyer of the woman who accused Nordstrom of assault, told CTV "the proper reflex on the part of the military should have been to suspend this individual" instead of allowing him to see only male patients.
A few months after the alleged sexual assault, the Canadian Armed Forces launched a program called Operation Honour to stamp out sexual misconduct within the military.
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