Yesterday and today, witnesses testified at the public hearing into ethics charges against Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian judge featured in pornographic pictures reflecting BDSM themes. Thus far, the proceedings haven’t been pretty — just like the nude pictures that started this whole mess.
Alex Chapman, the African-Canadian gentleman who claimed that Justice Douglas and her husband sexually harassed him, recently condemned the inquiry as “a bloody cover up.” Alas, cover up is one thing that this matter could have used more of. This headline from a Canadian news article says it all: “Despite attempts at propriety, little can hide tawdry nature of Manitoba judge’s sex trial.”
Tawdry indeed. Let’s look at the latest lurid allegations, including a claim by Alex Chapman that Lori Douglas touched his body….
For those of you who haven’t been following this crazy case, here’s some brief background on the (rather bizarre) allegations, from the Canadian Press:
Mr. Chapman alleges he had been the target of a sexual plan by Judge Douglas and her husband, Jack King, in 2003. At the time, Mr. King was Mr. Chapman’s divorce lawyer and Judge Douglas was a lawyer at the same firm as her husband.
Mr. Chapman, who is black, alleges he was approached by Mr. King to have sex with Judge Douglas, and was directed to Dark Cavern, a website dedicated to sex between black men and white women. On that website were two dozen photos of Judge Douglas, some of which showed her in bondage gear or performing sex acts.
Mr. King and Judge Douglas have maintained all along that Mr. King uploaded the photos and approached Mr. Chapman for sex without Judge Douglas’s knowledge. The couple have remained married, and have said Mr. King was going through a mental breakdown at the time.
It’s surprising — and a credit to Her Honor’s ability to forgive — that Justice Douglas and Jack King are still together. Justice Douglas was definitely upset when she learned about her nude photos making their way to the web. As she wrote in her diary back in 2003, “Met Jack for lunch. My world collapsed with what he had to tell me…. The day is a blur. I’m so angry with Jack for what he did.”
Here’s the good news for Justice Douglas. In his testimony, Alex Chapman had to admit that he and Justice Douglas never spoke explicitly about sex (which supports her claim that she was oblivious to any alleged plot and that it was all her husband’s doing):
A man who says he was sexually harassed by a Manitoba judge has admitted he never had any discussion with her about sex. Alexander Chapman is being asked repeatedly at a public inquiry whether he has any direct evidence that Lori Douglas was in on a strange sex plan in 2003, when she was still a lawyer.
Chapman says he was approached by Douglas’s husband, who showed him explicit photos of her and asked him to have sex with her. Chapman told the inquiry he only met Douglas twice, and they never talked about sex.
Here’s the best that Chapman was able to do, in terms of supporting his claim that Justice Douglas was in on the alleged plot:
The only direct interaction between Judge Douglas and Mr. Chapman occurred during two meetings at a downtown bar in May, 2003. In the first, Mr. Chapman said there was no flirtation. During the second, Mr. Chapman alleges Judge Douglas touched his body as the two discussed exercise.
“She touched my muscles on my arm and … my thighs,” Mr. Chapman told the inquiry.
Did this turn Chapman on? I know that I definitely get excited by extra judicial contact. But Chapman, it seems, was not aroused:
Several times, when [independent counsel Kirsten] Crain pressed him, he launched into unrelated lurid descriptions of what King had posted on the Dark Cavern sites, at one point saying of Douglas, “She’s not even my type anyway. She was this hairy woman. I’m sorry, but she was.”
(That may be true — Her Honor, at least in some of the photos, was also Her Hairiness — but that seems neither here nor there.)
For her part, Justice Douglas denies the touching and other allegations, in an affidavit. She is expected to testify later this month.
Chapman insists that Justice Douglas had to have known what was going on (although he doesn’t seem to have much evidence for this assertion):
“She knew. I mean, she was obviously talking with Jack,” he said. “She can’t be in no public office. That’s not right.”
Actually, even assuming that Justice Douglas wanted to have a three-way with her husband and Alex Chapman, what’s the big deal? Judges have sex lives; they’re only human. As long as they’re not getting their jollies while they’re at the courthouse or in the courtroom, I’m not sure I see the problem.
Despite attempts at propriety, little can hide tawdry nature of Manitoba judge’s sex trial [Canada.com]
Complainant says he never talked sex with Manitoba judge in naked photos case [Canadian Press]
Manitoba judge sex inquiry called ‘bloody coverup’ [CBC News]
Judge angry that husband shared nude photos, diary shows [Canadian Press]