Yesterday we wrote about Madam Justice Lori Douglas, a Canadian judge in Manitoba who, in her pre-robescent days, apparently posed for nude pictures — while engaged in such activities as bondage, sex toy play, and oral sex. These photographs apparently made their way on to an interracial porn website called DarkCavern.com (without Douglas’s knowledge or consent, according to her husband — who claims he posted the pics during a bout with depression).

The pictures came to light when an ethics complaint was filed against Justice Douglas and her husband, matrimonial lawyer Jack King. A former client of King, an African-Canadian gentleman by the name of Alex Chapman, claims that King sexually harassed him by showing him the porn pics of Lori Douglas and encouraging him (Chapman) to have sexual relations with Douglas. According to Chapman, King suffers not just from depression but from “Jungle Fever”: he is titillated by African-Canadian men getting it on with white women.

Justice Douglas did not comment to CBC News, which broke the story. But she has taken other action in the wake of the scandal….

Justice Douglas has decided, at least for now, to hang up her robe (now that DarkCavern.com users have seen what lies beneath it). She is temporarily leaving the bench while the Canadian Judicial Council reviews the ethics complaint against her, as reported in the National Post:

Lori Douglas, the associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Family Division, decided to step away from active duty during a meeting with Chief Justice Marc Monnin on Wednesday.

“In the interests of the judiciary and of the Court, Associate Chief Justice Douglas has requested to be temporarily relieved of her duties as a sitting judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench and will remain in her position in an administrative capacity until the pending complaint before the Canadian Judicial Council has been dealt with by that organization,” Mr. Monnin said in a statement.

So Justice Douglas won’t be sitting. No surprises there — she prefers being on all fours anyway.

Meanwhile, Alex Chapman — who claims to be deeply offended by how King treated him as a sexual object, a virile African-Canadian man to be pimped out to “White Princesses” (the section on DarkCavern.com where Douglas’s pics were found) — has filed several lawsuits. From CBC News:

A Winnipeg judge, her lawyer husband and a prestigious law firm are being sued for a total of $67 million by a man who claims he was harassed and suffered emotional distress when he was pressured to have sex with the lawyer’s wife….

On Wednesday, Chapman filed separate suits against King for $10 million and against Douglas for $7 million. He is also seeking $50 million from the law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, where Douglas and King were partners when the alleged incidents took place.

CBC News points out that Douglas and King are still married. We’re guessing that King is being flogged by Douglas in a dungeon sleeping on the couch these days.

What are Chapman’s causes of action?

The statements of claim all allege misfeasance in public office, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The claims against King and the law firm also note harassment.

No statements of defence have been filed and none of the allegations contained in the lawsuits have been proven in court.

If any of our Canadian readers would like to break down these claims in the comments, please feel free.

With respect to Justice Douglas, here’s the million-Canadian-dollar question:

“The question is, what did she know and when did she know it? I think that will be a very important part of this,” said [Irwin Cotler, the former federal justice minister who appointed Douglas to the Court of Queen's Bench in 2005].

Appointments to the bench are always thoroughly vetted and the candidate is asked about his or her background, he said in an interview in Ottawa.

It’s possible that an applicant could be unaware of the possible misuse of their personal photos or papers, he said.

Although Justice Douglas is keeping quiet, her husband is defending against the claims:

Mr. Gange, Mr. King’s lawyer, is now furious that Mr. Chapman has breached [an earlier] confidentiality agreement by approaching the CBC and providing the TV station with the lewd pictures.

“This is disgusting. It’s a horror show,” he said Tuesday. Mr. Gange admitted Mr. King “shouldn’t have talked to him the way he did” but said his client has already paid a heavy price through the financial settlement [of $25,000 to Chapman] and taking a year away from his practice.

As some commenters on yesterday’s post wondered, King could have claims against Chapman, who previously took a settlement of $25,000 in exchange for his silence:

Mr. Gange also accused Mr. Chapman of attempting to “extort” as much as $100,000 from Mr. King before agreeing to the lesser amount.

“I only recommended it to protect Lori, and his son. He was succumbing to the blackmail,” said Mr. Gange. “He did something stupid and out of character, but it was not illegal, and it was never acted upon.”

Mr. Gange said Mr. King and Ms. Douglas likely have several legal avenues to pursue against Mr. Chapman for breaches of the confidentiality agreement, of the Privacy Act for not destroying the personal photos and for defamation of character.

What a sordid scandal, eh? It’s a stickier mess than a tub full of poutine!

P.S. For those of you looking for a more high-minded take on these events, so you can read about it without feeling gorss, Canadian law professor Alice Woolley, of the University of Calgary, discusses some of the ethical issues over at the Legal Ethics Forum.

Manitoba judge embroiled in sex scandal removes self from bench [National Post via Legal Ethics Forum]
Manitoba judge, husband, law firm face lawsuits [CBC News]
More on the ethics scandal [Legal Ethics Forum]

Earlier: Judge of the Day: Oh, Oh, Oh… Canada!


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