A Canadian judge is on the verge of being relieved from his duties after he blamed a 19-year-old rape victim for not adequately fighting off her attacker. While questioning the teenage girl, Federal Court Justice Robin Camp made several questionable remarks, including “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together? Why didn’t you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn’t penetrate you?”
According to The Independent and a notice of allegations posted on the Canadian Judicial Council website, Camp made the remarks during a 2014 sexual assault trial, where he also explained to the victim that young women “want to have sex, particularly if they’re drunk.” At the time, Camp was appointed to the Alberta Provincial Court Criminal Division in Calgary, and last year, became a federal judge.
He also said that “some sex and pain sometimes go together” and “that’s not necessarily a bad thing.” The victim had accused Alexander Wagar form Calgary of raping her over a bathroom sink during a house party. Camp acquitted Wagar in September 2014, but the woman appealed and the ruling was overturned. He is scheduled for a second trial in November.
“He made me hate myself and he made me feel like I should have done something … that I was some kind of slut,” the victim said during last Tuesday’s judicial hearing. “He made comments asking me why didn’t I close my legs or my ankles together. … What did he expect me to say to something like that?”
The judge’s controversial and ignorant responses prompted an investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council and he is expected to testify Friday before a five-member committee. It will be part of a week-long proceeding that started Tuesday and will end next week in Calgary, Alberta. The investigation started in 2015 after four different law professors filed a complaint against the judge, who eventually recused himself from all sexual assault cases.
On Friday, Camp issued a half-assed apology.
The person I most want to apologize to is the complainant. I can see she’s a fragile personality. Her background has not been easy. Her life has not been easy. [She was a homeless Cree 19-year-old woman with substance abuse issues at the time of the alleged assault.] And I was rude and insulting. By extension, I have caused unhappiness among other people, mainly women and some men who have been sexually abused. I’m sorry about those. Canadians deserve better of their judges. I must apologize to the judiciary of this country. I’ve made a difficult role of the judge, each judge in this country more difficult and I’m sorry for that.
According to Death and Taxes, Camp’s own daughter is a sexual assault survivor and called her father’s comments “disgraceful.” However, she did say he was “old-fashioned in some ways,” while also calling him “an inherent or dedicated sexist,” according to CBC News.
So really, Robin Camp and Aaron Persky picked the perfect job.