WINNIPEG – A Manitoba judge whose nude photos were posted online by her husband without her knowledge says her subsequent disciplinary hearing was like being repeatedly sexually assaulted.
Lori Douglas, who was associate chief justice when the explicit photos of her came to light, spoke to Canadian Lawyer magazine about the process.
Douglas is quoted as saying that knowing staff with the Canadian Judicial Council were viewing the photos as part of the hearing was like “torture that’s inflicted in war on women.”
“It hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt like agony when I had to be interviewed by people who had looked at them,” she is quoted as saying in the cover story of the magazine.
In the article, Douglas said she feels that had she been a man, the reaction to the photos would have been different. Douglas said she did nothing wrong and the council should have defended her rather than drag her through a messy disciplinary hearing.
“But nobody spoke up for me,” Douglas is quoted as saying. “If I had been a man whose wife was taking pictures, the CJC would have said, ‘Poor Joe. He’s married to a wing nut.'”
Douglas could not be reached for comment by The Canadian Press and her lawyer did not return a message.
Johanna Laporte, spokeswoman for the judicial council, said the article is still being “read and considered” by staff. She said she wasn’t sure whether the council would respond to the issues raised by Douglas.
The disciplinary hearing revolved around allegations that Douglas failed to disclose the photos when she applied to become a judge in 2004 and that the pictures could undermine public confidence in the justice system.
The hearing took years and cost at least $3 million, not including Douglas’s salary while she was on leave. She retired last May following a settlement with the council.
The complaint against Douglas arose after her late husband, Jack King, who died in 2014, took photos of her and posted them on the Internet without her knowledge or permission in 2003.
He showed them to a client, Alexander Chapman, to try to entice him to have sex with her. Chapman later alleged the behaviour was sexual harassment.
He was paid $25,000 to destroy the photos and drop the complaint. But he held on to copies and made them public in 2010.
Douglas is quoted by the magazine as saying her life crumbled when the photos surfaced.
“I lost my job. I lost my life. I lost my reputation. If it hadn’t been for my son, there would have been little reason to keep on.”
Douglas is quoted by the magazine as saying she never saw the photos and said they might have been King’s attempt to “inject some sort of excitement into his life.”
“I didn’t know if he had film in the camera,” she is quoted as saying. “It was his thing.”
She was “furious” when she found out the photos existed online, Douglas said. King apologized to her almost every day and Douglas ended up forgiving him.
“All I said was: ‘How could you have done that to me?’ And he had no answer.”