Madam Justice Lori Douglas felt anger, resentment and shame when she found out that her husband, Jack King, had shared sexually explicit photos of her.
Her feelings are laid out in personal diary entries released on Thursday; the documents are part of a Canadian Judicial Council investigation that will determine whether Judge Douglas should be removed from the bench.
“Met Jack for lunch. My world collapsed with what he had to tell me,” she wrote on June 16, 2003 – the day her husband told her he had uploaded photos, some of which showed her in bondage gear and performing sex acts, to a website.
Mr. King had also shared the photos with Alexander Chapman, who seven years later filed the complaint against Judge Douglas that is now before the council.
“The day is a blur. I’m so angry with Jack for what he did,” she wrote two days later.
As the weeks and months wore on, Judge Douglas continued to write about it in her diary, even after her husband paid $25,000 to Mr. Chapman to return all the photos and agree to never talk about the matter. At the time, Judge Douglas and Mr. King were lawyers at a Winnipeg law firm. Mr. Chapman reneged on the deal in 2010 and went public.
“Woke up in the middle of the night, wondering how Jack could have done what he did,” Judge Douglas wrote on Oct. 20, 2003.
Judge Douglas is facing four allegations:
- That she sexually harassed Chapman;
- That she failed to disclose the issue when she was screened for a judicial appointment in 2005;
- That she didn’t fully disclose some facts to the inquiry and changed a 2003 entry in her personal diary in 2010;
- That the very existence of photos has undermined confidence in the justice system and her ability to act as a judge.
Through her lawyer, Judge Douglas has denied all the allegations. She has said, as has Mr. King all along, that Mr. King was suffering from a mental breakdown and acting without her knowledge.
Mr. King has already been found guilty of professional misconduct.
He was fined $14,000 by the Manitoba Law Society, but retains his licence to practise law.
Judge Douglas’s lawyer has said Judge Douglas should not be punished for her husband’s actions.
The documents released on Thursday include e-mails between Mr. King and Mr. Chapman in which Mr. King tried to persuade Mr. Chapman to have sex with Judge Douglas.
Mr. King had represented Mr. Chapman in a divorce case, and started e-mailing him pictures of Judge Douglas and asking how they looked.
“What do you think? Are you interested?” Mr. King wrote in an e-mail to Mr. Chapman on May 8, 2003.
“I am making progress. She seems more interested at the moment in another woman + bondage, with her being the one tied up,” Mr. King wrote three days later.
“She suggested this evening … that you should be invited out here,” Mr. King wrote three weeks later.
The documents contain nothing to indicate that Judge Douglas was part of any communication or even aware of what Mr. King was doing.
When Mr. Chapman filed a sexual harassment complaint against Mr. King in 2003 – for which he received the $25,000 settlement – he didn’t file a complaint about Judge Douglas. The only direct contact Mr. Chapman and Judge Douglas ever had was during two brief meetings at a downtown bar, which Judge Douglas and Mr. King have said were arranged by Mr. King without Judge Douglas’s knowledge.
In his affidavit released on Thursday, Mr. Chapman alleges Judge Douglas flirted with him during the second encounter.
“She touched me on my arms a few times, as well as my leg. I also touched her arms,” Mr. Chapman said in the affidavit. The document contains allegations that have not been proven, and Judge Douglas’s lawyer has said she “never laid a finger” on Mr. Chapman.
The documents also appear at least partly to refute the allegation that Judge Douglas failed to disclose the controversy when she was appointed a judge in 2005. She would rise to associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, heading up the family court division.
A journal entry listed in court documents as being from Francois Giroux, an adviser to then federal justice minister Irwin Cotler, does not mention the sexually explicit photos. But it does mention the harassment claim. It also seems to note that the story was well-known in Manitoba’s legal community.
“Husband, let go from the same firm as Mrs. Douglas. Allegations of mental health troubles,” says the journal entry, handwritten in French.
“Offered to a client the services of his wife without her knowledge. Mrs. stayed with. Made the round of the profession. Situation resolved. Counselling, psychological.”
The hearing into Judge Douglas’s future will resume July 16, when Mr. Chapman is scheduled to testify.