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Canadian Judge Apologizes For Asking Alleged Rape Victim Why She Didn't 'Keep Her Knees Together'

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Justice Robin Camp.Justice Robin Camp.

During a 2014 rape trial in Alberta, Canada, Justice Robin Camp, the presiding judge, asked the alleged 19-year-old victim why she couldn’t "keep her knees together."

The complainant was allegedly raped by Alexander Scott Wagar over a bathroom sink during a party and Camp’s remarks came under fire when four law professors at Dalhousie University and the University of Calgary filed a complaint against him to the Canadian Judicial Council, CBC reported.

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Camp, who was appointed to Canada's Federal Court earlier this year, asked the teen: "Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?" and, "Why didn't you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn't penetrate you?”

The complaint states that Camp was disdainful of legal rules that applied to consent and sexual contact. “The legal rules that Justice Camp took issue with were those aimed at removing from the law outdated and discredited stereotypes about women and sexual violence,” the complaint reads.

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Although Wagar was acquitted during that case, Alberta's Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in October.

Camp is still dealing with the fallout of his remarks.

In a statement from Federal Court dated Nov. 10, Camp apologized to the complainant and other victims who were hurt by his comments. “I am deeply troubled that things that I said would hurt the innocent,” he said. 

“In this regard, I am speaking particularly to those who hesitate to come forward to report abuse of any kind and who are reluctant to give evidence about abuse, sexual or otherwise. To the extent that what I have said discourages any person from reporting abuse, or from testifying about it, I am truly sorry.” 

Camp has volunteered to undergo sensitivity training and will recuse himself from all sexual assault cases to which he is currently assigned.

Alice Woolley, one of the professors who filed the complaint against Camp, believes that isn’t enough. "Taking him off cases with a sexual aspect to me doesn't really address the problem," she said. "I don't know why his apology is directed to women. Men are also affected by things that bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”

Sources: Federal Court of Canada, CBC / Photo credit: Andrew Balfour/Federal Court of Canada via CBC