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Canada More charges for retired officer convicted of assaulting recruits

Former military medical technician James Wilks (left), a petty officer second class who is now retired, arrives at a court martial in Gatineau, Que., on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013.

FRED CHARTRAND/The Canadian Press

A former medical technician previously convicted of sexually assaulting military recruits in Ontario faces more charges, the Defence Department announced Friday.

Retired petty officer James Wilks has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and 10 counts of breach of trust involving eight more complainants.

The charges stem from his work at two Ontario recruiting centres in London and Thunder Bay. Alleged incidents occurred between 2004 and 2009 but none has been proven in court.

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"I think we need to commend the courage of the complainants to come and bring this information to us," Lt.-Col. Francis Bolduc, commanding officer of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, said in an interview.

If there are any other women with allegations, he said, "we would encourage them" to come forward.

Wilks was previously convicted at a court martial in 2013 of 10 sexual assault counts and 15 charges of breach of trust involving 16 women over six years.

Military judge Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d'Auteuil found that Wilks conducted unnecessary and unauthorized breast exams on female recruits during medical checkups in Thunder Bay and London.

Wilks was sentenced to 30 months in jail for those incidents between 2003 and 2009 but was released pending an appeal.

In a separate case, a military judge in 2011 sentenced Wilks to nine months in jail after he was convicted of one count of sexual assault and four counts of breach of trust.

The lawyer for several women who are now suing the military for not acting sooner on allegations involving Wilks said he hopes to resolve the matters out of court this fall.

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Phillip Millar said six lawsuits have been in mediation talks off and on with the Defence Department for months.

"I fully expected it to be settled by now but it's not," he said Friday in an interview. "If it's not settled by October, it will be going to a jury trial — a very public jury trial.

"It has been a long wait for my clients and we want to see DND take some positive action on this."

Millar did not wish to disclose exactly how many plaintiffs he represents.

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