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May 10 10 7:06 PM
A seven-year veteran of the Canadian Forces will appear in court Monday after being charged with four sexual assaults on and around a military base in Ontario --the latest incident that military officials admit could tarnish the Forces' reputation.
Cpl. Christopher Raymond Chaulk was charged Sunday under the Criminal Code with four counts of sexual assault and four related counts of assault.
The charges stem from two incidents on Canadian Forces Base Petawawa in the early mornings of Thursday and Saturday, plus two others in the area that took place in the fall of 2009.
The charges come one day after Chaulk was arrested by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, the investigative arm of the Canadian Forces Military Police. He remains in custody and will appear in Provincial Court in Pembroke, Ont., on Monday morning for a bail hearing.
Chaulk, whose home unit is Canadian Forces Station St. John's in Newfoundland, has been at CFB Petawawa since last fall for training before deployment to Afghanistan, said Maj. Paule Poulin, a spokeswoman for the military authorities.
Neither his age, nor that of the victims was released.
Poulin said military police, along with the Ontario Provincial Police and its canine unit "were instrumental" in Chaulk's arrest. The military announced the arrest of an unnamed suspect Saturday, but mentioned only the two recent incidents at the base.
In the first, a man broke into a home on the base's married quarters and assaulted a woman who was alone in the residence. In the second, another woman was assaulted while walking on a path on the base.
Paule wouldn't release any details of the assaults last fall, saying the investigation is ongoing and the case is now before the courts.
She also wouldn't rule out further charges, saying: "With an ongoing investigation, you never know where investigations will take you."
The charges against Chaulk come just three months after 47-year-old Col. Russell Williams, then commander of CFB Trenton, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and two of sexual assault.
Asked Sunday whether the new charges will further tarnish the image of the Canadian Forces, Lt.-Col. Keith Rudderham, the base commander at Petawawa, replied: "It won't help, to be honest.
"But these things do happen all across the country," he said. As a subset of society, the Canadian Forces "have some people who break the law and do things we wish they hadn't done."
But the vast majority of military personnel, "almost to a man and woman, are doing their utmost to protect people and help the country," he said.
"I think most people will have a look at it and say, these people, if they're found guilty, deserve to have the full weight of the law brought against them. But it doesn't reflect on their neighbours or the people they work with or the institution they work for."
Rudderham said the speedy apprehension of a suspect has helped to mute fears on the base.
"People were worried when the first report came out, and we made it public," he said. "Right away thereafter there was another report, but a suspect was pretty well caught before people got up in the morning."
Williams, meanwhile, is facing two first-degree murder charges in the sex killings of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 37, a military flight attendant, and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville, Ont.
In the sexual assault cases, Williams is accused of breaking into the Tweed, Ont. homes of his victims, blindfolding them and tying them naked to chairs, then sexually assaulting and photographing them.
Last month, Williams was also charged with 82 break-and-enters. His case has been adjourned to June 24, and he hasn't yet entered a plea on any of the charges.
May 10 10 7:16 PM
By SEAN CHASE, QMI Agency
May 10, 2010PEMBROKE, ONT. - A Canadian Forces soldier charged in connection with four sexual assaults at the Petawawa base northwest of Ottawa has been remanded into custody while police in Newfoundland say they're re-opening unsolved sexual assault cases.
Cpl. Christopher Raymond Chaulk, 25, who used to live in St. John's, N.L., made a brief court appearance in Pembroke, Ont., Monday where Judge Barry Moran agreed to an adjournment.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) has charged Chaulk with four counts of sexual assault and four counts of assault. The charges stem from two incidents at the Canadian Forces Base in Petawawa late last week and two from last fall.
Unshaven and wearing a pair of grey overalls, the soldier said nothing during the bail hearing, except to acknowledge instructions from Justice Moran, who imposed a publication ban on the names of the victims and the evidence in accordance with a request from Crown attorney John Pepper.
Justice Moran also told Chaulk he was to have no contact with his alleged victims.
Monday afternoon, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary spokeswoman Const. Suzanne Fitzgerald confirmed the police force is looking at unsolved sexual assault cases after hearing about the charges against Chaulk in Ontario.
Several Newfoundland media outlets report Fitzgerald said the investigation is just in the preliminary stages, but police will look at cases during the same timeframe that Chaulk was in St. John's.
Petawawa base commander Lt.-Col. Keith Rudderham spoke to the media Monday.
"This situation affects us all and I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of those affected by these alleged crimes," Rudderham said. "I am sure that news of these charges are shocking for our military members and their families but I can assure you that the Canadian Forces takes these charges seriously and we as a military family will do everything we can to support each other as we always do in difficult times at CFB Petawawa."
Chaulk was arrested Saturday following a joint investigation between the CFNIS, CFB Petawawa military police and the Ontario Provincial Police, which began on May 6 when a man broke into a Private Married Quarter (PMQ) on the base's south townsite. Police said the adult male assaulted a lone woman before fleeing the premises.
The next day, another woman was assaulted while walking in a wooded path on the base.
The victims in both incidents were taken to Pembroke Regional Hospital for treatment. The CFNIS did not release any details about the incidents last fall.
Chaulk has been a member of the Canadian Forces for seven years. He is a signal operator, and was based at Canadian Forces Station St. John's, N.L. However, he has been attached to Second Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery since last fall. He had been preparing to deploy to Kandahar, Afghanistan with Task Force 1-10, the Department of National Defence confirmed Monday.
Rudderham said these incidents do not reflect on the community or the military as an institution.
"We have some people who break the law and do things we wish they hadn¹t done," said Rudderham. "The vast majority of military personnel are doing their utmost to protect Canadian interests and project Canadian values at home and overseas. I think most people will have a look at it and say, this person, if found guilty, deserves to have the full weight of the justice system brought against him."
The investigation is ongoing.
Chaulk is in custody the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre until his next court appearance in Pembroke Thursday.
May 10 10 7:19 PM
By LUKE HENDRY, QMI Agency
May 10, 2010
BELLEVILLE, Ont. - An Ontario woman who says she was the victim of a sexual attack by Col. Russ Williams is suing him and his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, for $2.45 million in damages stemming from both the alleged attack and from a supposed fraudulent real estate transfer.
The civil allegations are made in a statement of claim filed May 6 in Belleville, Ont. A copy of the document was obtained by QMI Agency.
In it, the 21-year-old plaintiff – identified only as Jane Doe – claims she has been suicidal, has suffered major depression, drug and alcohol dependencies as well as a host of other emotional, sexual and social problems since being attacked in her home on Sept. 17, 2009.
In the claim, she states Williams broke into her Tweed-area home at about 1 a.m., while she slept. Also in the home was the woman's infant daughter, the statement says.
The statement charges Doe was tied, blindfolded, forced into sexual acts and photographed naked during the next two hours.
“The plaintiff was terrified that the defendant would kill her and/or her baby,” states the document.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
“The Defendants (sic) conduct actions in these circumstances are horrific and have caused the Plaintiff to develop certain psychological mechanisms in order to survive the horrors of the assault,” it reads.
Doe's claims include $500,000 each for pain and suffering, loss of income, aggravated damages and punitive damages.
She also claims $100,000 for future care costs and the same amount for unspecified “special damages” and a further $250,000 in special damages for lost income.
Doe makes further claims regarding what she alleges was a fraudulent transfer of Ottawa real estate by Williams to Harriman on March 26, 2010.
The couple owns a home on Edison Street in Ottawa.
The statement alleges Williams and his wife attempted to transfer ownership in an effort to place the property out of reach of the plaintiff or civil actions against them, but does not offer details.
Williams, 47, is charged, but has not yet been tried, with first-degree murder in the deaths of Marie-France Comeau, 37, of Brighton, Ont., and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville, Ont. He is also charged with two counts of forcible confinement and two more of break, enter and sexual assault for attacks on two women last fall in the Tweed, Ont. Area. He also faces charges in connection to a series of break-ins in Ottawa, Tweed, and Belleville - three Ontario communities in which Williams lived and worked.
Lawyer David Cavanaugh, whose firm represents the woman, would not elaborate on the civil case.
“No comment,” he said. “We have to do that for the time being. It's an extremely sensitive issue.”
A publication ban has been requested.
No legal representatives for Williams and Harriman are named in the statement of claim.
Ottawa lawyer Michael Edelson represents Williams in his criminal case but it was unclear whether he would take the same role in the civil case. He did not respond Monday to requests for comment.
May 11 10 6:21 AM
May 11 10 8:01 PM
I saw where it said they hung out together, I wonder if they compared notes? OMG I can only imagine too about the women that had their houses broken into. I saw the article where the woman whose parents house was broken into by him! My god what she must be thinking and feeling. Maybe I am not nice, but I wouldve let him commit suicide. I dont think I wouldve rushed in to save his sorry self
May 11 10 8:10 PM
Colonel charged with terrorizing communityMay 11, 2010 Commanding officer of biggest military airbase in Canada charged with murder, sexual assault and stealing women's lingerie.TWEED, Canada — Cosy Cove Lane, as its name suggests, is the kind of sleepy place where doors were left unlocked for as long as anyone can remember.
It’s a dead-end dirt road hugging one side of a heart-shaped inlet in the village of Tweed, a rural community of 1,500 people in southeastern Ontario.
The 21 homes on the lane are a mix of summer cottages and year-round residences. A hand painted wood sign at the lane’s entrance, put up years ago by a now dead resident, misspells Cosy with a “z.” No one is bothered to change it.
“I don't think anything [bad] ever happened before this,” said Ernestine Cole, who is in her 80s and has lived on Cosy Cove for two decades. “We used to call it Geritol Lane because it was full of old people.”
Cole is alluding to a slew of home burglaries that began terrorizing the community during the past two years, culminating in the sexual assault of two women in their homes last fall — one on Cosy Cove Lane and the other one street away.
A woman was then murdered in a town south of Tweed last November, and another young woman was murdered just outside of the village in January.
Terror turned to dismay in February when Colonel Russell Williams was charged with the sexual assaults and murders. On April 29, he was hit with a further 82 charges involving break and enters and theft — much of it women’s lingerie.
The fact that Williams was commanding officer of the biggest military airbase in Canada — CFB Trenton, about an hour’s drive south of Tweed — turned the arrest into a major national news story. No one was more stunned than the residents of Cosy Cove Lane: Williams was their neighbor. He has owned the cottage at 62 Cosy Cove Lane since 2004.
A decorated pilot, the 47-year-old Williams used to head the squadron that flew VIPs, including the prime minister. He was also commander of Camp Mirage, a secret air force staging base in Dubai that conducts assignments in Afghanistan.
But by the time he was made commanding officer of the biggest air base in Canada in July 2009, police allege he had already broken into his neighbor’s houses 58 times. And more were to come.Some break-ins occurred within walking distance of his Ottawa residence, which he shared with his wife, Mary Elizabeth Harriman, the executive director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. She was apparently ignorant of her husband’s alleged double-life. Other home burglaries were within walking distance of his Tweed cottage.
Included in the 82 break-and-enter charges is the home of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38, who worked under Williams’ command at the Trenton base. Williams is accused of stealing her personal belongings on Nov. 16, 2009 — eight days before he allegedly killed her.
The chilling stalking pattern appears to have also occurred with a woman Williams is accused of sexually assaulting on Cosy Cove. He is charged with breaking into her home twice — Sept. 24 and 26 last year, allegedly stealing her underwear — before she was attacked in her home on the 30th. He is alleged to have blindfolded her, tied her up and cut off her clothes before sexually assaulting her.
The charges also suggest a compulsion to return to the scene of the crime. He is accused of sexually assaulting a second Tweed woman on Sept. 17, 2009 — then returning the very next night and again on the 22nd to steal personal belongings.
He is also charged with breaking into a Tweed neighbor’s home nine times between April 2008 and August 2009.
“I feel very fortunate,” said the woman who has lived in that home for five years. “A lot of other girls got it a lot worse than me.”
All the while, Williams was conducting air force business, including meetings with the minister of defense and the military’s chief of staff.
On Sept. 13, he left on a 13-hour flight aboard a Hercules aircraft from CFB Trenton to Canadian Forces Station Alert on Ellesmere Island, in Canada’s Arctic. The return flight left on Sept. 16. The next day, after attending to business at the Trenton base, Williams is accused of committing his second sexual assault.
His co-workers noticed nothing strange. Neither did his Cosy Cove neighbors. They would often see him photographing birds. Before mowing the lawn, he would stomp around his yard to chase out frogs and spare them a horrible fate. He would stroll around with his cat, Rosebud, slung over his shoulder. And when his wife was at the cottage, they would be seen walking down the lane hand-in-hand.
Williams was arrested at a police roadblock, set up on the highway he took to get from the Trenton base to his cottage. Reports say police matched his tires with the tread marks left in the snow around the house of the second murder victim. He reportedly led police to the wooded area in Tweed where her body was dumped.
Since his arrest, he has twice appeared in court via video link from the detention center where he is being held. He looked like a broken man. His trial is weeks away. According to one report, he recently tried to kill himself in his cell.
May 11 10 8:14 PM
BELLEVILLE—The “horrific and reprehensible” alleged sexual attack on a 21-year-old woman by Col. Russell Williams has left her fearful and suicidal, the woman claims in a lawsuit filed against the former CFB Trenton base commander.
The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, is also suing Williams’s wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, claiming Williams fraudulently transferred an Ottawa property to his wife in an effort to defeat Jane Doe’s claim.
Williams has been criminally charged with killing two women, sexually assaulting another two woman and with 82 break-and-enter charges, some of which reportedly involved lingerie.
The criminal charges have not yet been tested in court nor have the civil allegations. There is no indication Williams has filed a statement of defence.
Williams broke into Jane Doe’s home in Tweed, Ont., on Sept. 17, 2009 at about 1 a.m. while she and her infant daughter were sleeping, the suit claims. Williams held her captive, sexually assaulted her and took naked pictures of her, according to the lawsuit filed with the court in Belleville, Ont.
During the attack, which left her sexually, emotionally and mentally traumatized, the woman was terrified Williams would kill her and/or her baby, she claims.
“The conduct of the defendant was harsh, vindictive, malicious, horrific and reprehensible,” the statement of claim reads.
The horror of that night has left the woman with a long list of ongoing trauma, she claims. She will continue to suffer physical, mental and emotional pain, “major” depression, suicidal behaviour, sexual dysfunction and drug and alcohol dependencies, the $2.45-million lawsuit says.
The woman also claims she has lost the ability to trust other people, she has lost current and future income because of an inability to seek or obtain meaningful employment and therefore cannot provide for her children.
She will require extensive therapy and medical attention, she claims, and is seeking $100,000 for future care costs.
The woman is also seeking $500,000 each in general damages for pain and suffering and loss of future income, as well as $500,000 each for aggravated damages and punitive damages. She is also claiming $250,000 in special damages for lost income and a further $100,000 for unspecified special damages.
Jane Doe is also alleging Williams secretly transferred a property in Ottawa, the city in which he shared a home with his wife, in “unusual haste” and under “suspicious circumstances.”
The suit alleges the real estate transaction took place on March 26 — some six weeks after Williams was criminally charged in the sex assaults and killings.
The woman believes that Williams and Harriman “will remove assets from the jurisdiction or otherwise dispose of or dissipate them in an effort to defeat the plaintiff in any attempt to recover upon the judgment, if the plaintiff is ultimately successful,” the suit reads.
Williams led one of the country’s top airbases — CFB Trenton — before he was charged in February with first-degree murder in the deaths of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau of Brighton, Ont., and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville. He is also charged in the sexual assaults of two others.
Just hours before Williams made a brief court appearance last month, provincial police said a review of unsolved crimes in eastern Ontario had resulted in 82 new charges.
It’s alleged Williams burglarized Jane Doe’s home twice after the Sept. 17 assault. The court documents also show police believe he robbed the home of his second alleged assault victim twice before the Sept. 30 attack in the woman’s home.
May 15 10 9:03 AM
OTTAWA — It was the day after the neighbour down the road had been sexually terrorized as her infant daughter slept. A man had broken into her Tweed home in late September 2009 around 1 a.m. He blindfolded her, photographed her and forced himself on her for two hours.
Hours later, the police knocked on doors along Cosy Cove Lane asking questions. They got to Larry Jones’s home, and after a few questions, an officer asked who owned the place next door. Jones, 65, told him it belonged to Col. Russell Williams, 47. The police officer thought Jones was joking. He wasn’t.
“So I told him again,” Jones said, “that the owner of the house next door was the commander of CFB Trenton and then he said, ‘Well, I guess we don’t have to look at him then.’ ”
In fact, OPP detectives would first focus not on Williams, but rather on Larry Jones.
The OPP searched Jones’s home and hauled him in for questioning.
Two months after the police officer said they didn’t need to look at Williams as a suspect, Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 37, was found dead in a sex killing. Four months later, Jessica Lloyd, 27, was also found dead after being sexually assaulted.
It wasn’t until February that OPP closed in on Col. Williams.
That was after a roadside check for a unique design of snow tires matched the colonel’s truck.
Williams was then asked to come in for questioning at Ottawa police headquarters in the first week of February.
The colonel apparently thought the interview would be about his Tweed neighbour, Larry Jones, and figured he’d be back to his Ottawa home on Edison Avenue for supper.
Nothing could be further from the truth and Williams, still being paid $12,000 a month by the military, remains in jail charged in connection with two sex killings, two home invasions involving sexual assault and 82 lingerie break-ins, including 34 in Orléans.
By the end of the police interview, led by an OPP behavioural sciences expert, Williams allegedly guided detectives to where they could find hidden keepsakes — included more than 500 pairs of women’s underwear — at his Westboro home.
On May 6, one of his alleged victims, known only as Jane Doe, filed a $2-million lawsuit against Williams and his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman.
In the statement of claim, the 21-year-old woman says she has suffered severe depression and addiction since the alleged attack. The statement of claim also alleges that Williams fraudulently transferred his Ottawa home to his wife to protect it from legal action.
Some reports have described the property transfer as “secret” but, in fact, the transfer was registered with the Ontario land registry office. The transfer, according to documents obtained by the Citizen, was signed off by Williams on March 26.
Thursday, a Belleville judge ruled that Mary-Elizabeth Harriman is prohibited from selling or transferring the Westboro home.
Williams and Mary-Elizabeth Harriman have not yet filed a statement of defence. None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court.
In the suit, the plaintiff known as Jane Doe, is said to have been terrified that on the night in question she and her newborn child would be killed. The statement of claim also says that Jane Doe has had to develop psychological mechanisms in order to survive “the horrors of the assault.”
May 15 10 9:10 AM
Friday, May 14, 2010
The OPP did not initially question Colonel Russell Williams about a sexual assault he was later charged with, because he was the commander of CFB Trenton, a former neighbour alleges.
In late September 2009, hours after a Tweed woman was sexually terrorized in her home by a man who had broken in, police knocked on doors in the neighbourhood.
When they got to Larry Jones' home on Cosy Cover Lane, an officer asked him a few questions, then asked who owned the home next door, he says.
Mr. Jones, 65, said he told him the home belonged to Col. Williams. The police officer thought he was joking. He wasn't. "So I told him again," Mr. Jones said, "that the owner of the house next door was the commander of CFB Trenton, and then he said, 'Well, I guess we don't have to look at him then.' "
In fact, OPP detectives first focused not on Col. Williams, but on Mr. Jones. They searched his home and took him in for questioning.
Two months after the police officer allegedly said they did not need to look at Col. Williams as a suspect, Corporal Marie-France Comeau, 37, was found dead in a sex killing. Four months later, Jessica Lloyd, 27, was also found dead after being sexually assaulted.
It was not until February that the OPP focused on Col. Williams.
That was after a roadside check for a unique design of snow tires matched the colonel's truck.
The Colonel has since been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of sexual assault, plus 82 additional charges for break-and-enter, theft and attempted break-and-enter.
On May 6, one of his alleged assault victims, known only as Jane Doe, filed a $2-million lawsuit against Col. Williams and his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman.
In the statement of claim, the 21-year-old woman says she has suffered severe depression and addiction since the alleged attack. The statement of claim also alleges that Col. Williams fraudulently transferred a home in Ottawa home to his wife to protect it from legal action.
Yesterday, a Belleville judge ruled that Ms. Harriman is prohibited from selling or transferring the home.
None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court.
May 15 10 9:17 AM
A Belleville judge has granted a publication ban and issued several directives to Col. Russ Williams and his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, in a civil action brought against them by a local woman.
Superior Court Justice Richard Byers made the order Thursday in the case filed by Jane Doe. The 21-year-old Hastings County mother is suing Williams and Harriman for $2.45 million in damages in a case stemming from the criminal charges against Williams. His order bans the release of Doe's real name and gives directives regarding the defendants' assets.
Williams, 47, is the former commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton. He faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Marie-France Comeau of Brighton and Jessica Lloyd of Belleville.
He also faces charges of break, enter and sexual assault in connection with two September 2009 home invasions involving Tweed women and 82 charges related to break-ins in the Quinte and Ottawa areas.
Williams is awaiting trial on all criminal charges.
Doe is the alleged victim in the first home invasion.
In a statement of claim filed May 6 in Belleville civil court, Doe alleges Williams sexually assaulted, bound and photographed her while she was naked during a two-hour attack.She also claims Williams made a "secret" fraudulent transfer of an Ottawa property to Harriman. The couple owns a home in that city.
Anything may be alleged in a statement of claim. None of the allegations made by Doe have been proven in court.
Byers' ruling allows Doe to use her pseudonym throughout the civil case, though her legal counsel — Belleville's Pretsell-Cavanaugh firm — must supply her real name to the defendants' lawyers.
The judge ruled no one — including lawyers and media — may disclose or publish the plaintiff's name without the court's consent.
"The court orders that the defendant Mary-Elizabeth Harriman shall not transfer, convey, encumber, dispose of or otherwise deal with the property" in question, wrote Byers.
Byers also granted a temporary injunction restraining the "disposition or dissipation of real and personal property" owned by Williams.
The judge ordered Williams to provide a sworn statement of his financial assets.
Lawyers on both sides had little to say Friday.
"Out of respect for our client's privacy, we have no comment," lawyer Mike Pretsell, whose firm represents Doe, wrote in an e-mail message to The Intelligencer.
Williams and Harriman have 20 working days after the filing of the statement of claim in which to file either a statement of defence or to state their intent to defend against Doe's claims. No such statements had been filed as of Friday.
Ottawa lawyer Mary Jane Binks confirmed she has been retained by Harriman.
"A statement of defence will be filed within the next two weeks," Binks told The Intelligencer. She added she would not represent Williams.
" I am definitely not representing him," Binks said.
Lawyer Michael Edelson, also of Ottawa, represents Williams in the criminal case. James Katz, another Ottawa lawyer, acted on the record Thursday as Edelson's agent but was not present in court. He said neither he nor Edelson had been retained by the colonel.
"No one actually represents him in the civil matter, to my knowledge," Katz said Friday from Ottawa.
"I'm not authorized to give any comment," Katz said.
Williams is being held in Napanee's Quinte Detention Centre. His next criminal court date is a June 24 video remand appearance.
May 16 10 8:40 AM
What a creep.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May 16 10 8:50 AM
May 16 10 8:58 AM
Accused serial killer Russell Williams and his wife have split their real estate holdings, raising questions about whether they're trying to protect their assets from lawsuits or ending their relationship.
The former commander of CFB Trenton — charged with murdering two women, sexually assaulting two others and committing dozens of fetish break-ins — is now the sole owner of the couple's modest cottage in Tweed, originally bought in 2004 for $178,000.
His wife, Mary Elizabeth Harriman, is listed as the sole owner of the couple's new Ottawa townhouse, which they purchased on Dec. 17 for $693,819.
The property transfers occurred March 26. Real estate lawyers say it may be a sign that the marriage between Williams and his wife, associate executive director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada when her husband was arrested, has effectively ended.
However, a $2.5 million lawsuit filed by one of the women Williams is accused of sexually assaulting claims the transfers are a “suspicious” effort to protect assets.
A statement of claim filed in a Belleville court last week names Williams' wife as a defendant, alleging that the transaction on the Ottawa home was a “fraudulent conveyance” done to “defeat the plaintiff's claims.”
On Thursday, in response to a motion by the woman's lawyer, a Belleville judge ordered Williams and Harriman not to liquidate assets. The allegations contained in the woman's suit have not been proven in court.
Williams was arrested Feb. 7 and charged with murdering Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38, of Brighton and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville and with two home-invasion sex attacks on women living near his Tweed cottage.
Six weeks later, on March 26, Harriman paid $62,000 in cash and assumed the mortgage on the couple's new Ottawa home. The transfer leaves the house entirely in her name.
The same day, the couple's cottage was transferred entirely into Williams' name. That transfer involves no money.
Land documents cite it as a spousal transfer made out of “natural love and affection,” a common reason in a spousal transfer involving no financial consideration. It avoids land transfer taxes.
A week later, Williams reportedly attempted suicide in his cell at the Quinte Detention Centre. According to the Kingston Whig-Standard, a crude suicide note, scrawled using mustard on his cell wall, stated he had his affairs in order.
With none of the parties talking, the Star asked several lawyers about the real estate transactions. All believe there appears to have been a separation settlement.
Real estate lawyer Bob Aaron, who writes a column for the Star, said the $62,000 cash payment on the Ottawa house, which involves payment of land transfer tax, suggests a marital split.
“That means it's an arm's-length deal and there actually was money being paid. So it may be that their marriage went south,” said Aaron. “And he may have done that to pay for his lawyers — he sold her the house.”
Aaron said the judge hearing the lawsuit will have to decide between Williams' likely need for cash to pay defence lawyers and the alleged victim's claim that Williams and his wife acted to protect their assets.
The alleged victim is claiming fraud under the Fraudulent Conveyances Act, often used to prevent people on the verge of bankruptcy from transferring assets to protect them from creditors.
The fact the cottage is now solely in Williams' name may be a tactical move to avoid the optics of Williams putting everything into his wife's name, suggests another lawyer who specializes in real estate and who asked not to be named. “It would leave him open (to civil claims) on that property.”
In the lawsuit, filed under the pseudonym Jane Doe, a 21-year-old new mother states she was home alone on Sept. 17, 2009, with her infant daughter when police allege Williams broke into her Tweed-area house.
The suit alleges that Williams tied up and blindfolded the woman, held her captive for more than two hours and forced her into sexual acts. It's also alleged Williams photographed her.
The woman, who can't be named, states that she was “terrified” she and her baby would be killed, and that the incident has caused “extreme anguish and emotional and psychological distress.”
Williams, who has not entered a plea in the criminal case and has not filed a defence in the civil action, is scheduled to make his next court appearance by video link on June 24.
May 16 10 9:02 AM
By LUKE HENDRY, QMI Agency
Last Updated: May 15, 2010 Col. Russ Williams. (File photo)
BELLEVILLE - A Belleville judge has granted a publication ban and issued several directives to Col. Russ Williams and his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, regarding a a civil action brought against them by a local woman.
Superior Court Justice Richard Byers issued the order Thursday.
A 21-year-old Hastings County mother is suing Williams and Harriman for $2.45 million in damages in a case stemming from the criminal charges against Williams.
The order bans the release of the woman's name and gives directives regarding the defendants' assets.
Williams, 47, is the former commander of the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton. He faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Marie-France Comeau of Brighton and Jessica Lloyd of Belleville.
He also faces charges of break and enter and sexual assault in connection with two September 2009 home invasions involving women in the area, and 82 charges related to break-ins in the Quinte and Ottawa areas.
Williams is still awaiting trial on the criminal charges.
Jane Doe -- the woman launching the civil suit -- is the alleged victim in the first home invasion.
In a statement of claim filed May 6 in Belleville civil court, Doe alleges Williams sexually assaulted, bound and photographed her while she was naked during a two-hour attack.
She also alleges Williams made a "secret" fraudulent transfer of an Ottawa property to Harriman.
None of the allegations made by Doe have been proven in court.
Byers' ruling allows Doe to use her pseudonym throughout the civil case.
The judge ruled no one -- including lawyers and media -- may disclose or publish the plaintiff's name without the court's consent.
The judge ordered Williams to provide a sworn statement of financial assets.
"Out of respect for our client's privacy, we have no comment," lawyer Mike Pretsell, whose firm represents Doe, wrote in an e-mail to QMI Agency.
Williams and Harriman have 20 work days after the filing of the statement of claim to file either a statement of defence or to state their intent to defend against Doe's claims.
No such statements had been filed as of Friday.
"A statement of defence will be filed within the next two weeks," Binks said, adding she is not representing Williams.
Williams is being held in Napanee's Quinte Detention Centre.
May 17 10 7:09 PM
In a case that has shocked and transfixed the nation, British-born Colonel Russell Williams has been charged with two killings but police think they may be more.
Detectives are re-examining up to eight unsolved murders and dozens of sex crimes across Canada stretching back three decades.
His arrest marked a fall from grace for the elite Canadian Air Force commander who once flew the Queen across the Atlantic.
Col Williams, 47, was the commander in charge of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, near Toronto, which is the country’s largest military airbase and provides support for its operations in Afghanistan and Haiti.
The married father of four, has been relieved of duty and is being kept in jail ahead of a civilian trial.
The colonel was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, and his parents both attended Birmingham University.
His family emigrated to Canada when he was four and he later embarked on a highly decorated 23-year military career, spending a decade at the controls of VIP flights carrying the Prime Minister and Governor General.
In 2005, he picked up the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the UK and flew them to Canada to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
He is charged with the first-degree murder of Corporal Marie Comeau, 38, who was a flight attendant under his command on VIP military flights. She was found dead at her home near the Trenton base in November.
He is also alleged to have murdered Jessica Lloyd, 27, a civilian who worked for a bus company. Her body was found by a roadside near the base in February. Both women were strangled.
The two sexual assault victims are alleged to have been attacked in their homes in September last year.
They were both bound with duct tape, blindfolded with pillow cases and tied to chairs by a masked intruder, alleged to have been Col Williams, who took photographs of them.
The colonel was an avid amateur photographer and police are examining his computer.
Another of his alleged victims has already lodged a £1.6 million civil suit against him, claiming she was sexually assaulted for two hours while her young daughter slept upstairs.
He also faces 82 charges of repeated break-ins at 47 homes in the capital Ottawa and Tweed, Ontario, a small town near the base where the colonel had a cottage.
Some of the break-ins were on Cosy Cove Lane, the road where he lived, and mostly took place on Friday and Saturday nights. He is alleged to have broken into one property nine times. Victims said their underwear drawers were rifled and lingerie stolen.
Col Williams was arrested after being stopped during a random police roadblock and police found the tyres of his Nissan Pathfinder matched a distinctive track in the snow near one of the murder scenes.
Among the previously unsolved killings now being reinvestigated is the 2001 rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman at the Trenton base.
They are also investigating unsolved crimes near Col Williams’ previous postings.
Between December 2005 and June 2006 he was the commanding officer of Camp Mirage, a secretive Canadian military base near Dubai.
Since his arrest Col Williams, who has yet to enter a plea, has tried to commit suicide in prison by jamming a cardboard lavatory roll tube down his throat. He also began a hunger strike.
The charges against him have left Canada’s military in a state of shock. He had been described by one superior as a “shining bright star.”
General Walter Natynczyk, Canada’s chief of defence staff, said: “Emotionally it’s very difficult to deal with. We go forward, and we are proud to wear our uniform.”
May 19 10 6:40 PM
Police investigating a top military commander accused of murdering two women could investigate unsolved crimes across the globe, amid fears he may be a serial killer.
The move comes following speculation that Canadian Colonel Russell Williams may be responsible for more attacks - possibly even in the UAE.
Sergeant Kristine Rae, of Ontario Police Department, an officer on the high-profile case, told 7DAYS that once local investigations were complete, enquiries may well move overseas to places the 47-year-old served in during his 23-year career.And some of those may be right here.
She said: “Right now we are carrying out investigations locally but it could be that will extend to other places [he served].”Williams was the commanding officer at Canadian Forces logistics base Camp Mirage between 2005 and 2006.
Its location has never been confirmed but it is widely reported to be near Dubai and has been referred to by Canadian press as ‘the worst kept secret in the Persian Gulf’.
Along with the murders and two sexual assaults, he has also been charged with 82 counts of burglary where victims allege he stole their underwear.Allegation shockwaves
Murder charges stun fellow officers
Military top-brass have been left stunned by the revelation that one of their most highly decorated colleagues is facing two charges of first degree murder.
When the charges, along with two counts of sexual assault, were filed against Colonel Russell Williams, chief of defence staff Walter Natynczyk told Canadian reporters: “This is a tough day for anyone in uniform.”
The British-born father-of-four moved to Canada with his parents aged four. After graduating from university he went on to join the military and enjoyed an unblemished career that saw him rise through the ranks.
He also won international praise and commendations for his efforts in Afghanistan and as part of the relief mission in Haiti earlier this year. He also served as the commanding officer of Camp Mirage a secret base believed to be in the UAE.
But Williams’ reputation fell apart when he was arrested in February after the disappearance of 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd, who lived near Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario where Williams was made chief in 2009. She was found throttled and dumped by the roadside several days later.
Williams was arrested at a police roadblock after officers spotted that the unusual treads of his 4x4 matched those left outside Lloyd’s home.
He was later charged with her murder and that of Corporal Marie-France Comeau, who was also found strangled a few months earlier and had worked under Williams at CFB Trenton. He has also been charged with sexually assaulting two other women in the area along with 82 counts of burglary in Tweed, the town where he lived with his wife.
Police believe he may have broken into the same houses dozens of times. Williams has yet to enter a plea.
Victims were found strangledWilliams has been charged with killing Marie-France Comeau, 37, whose body was found by her boyfriend in November 2009 in Ontario.
The married father-of-four is also alleged to have killed Jessica Lloyd, 27, a civilian. Both women were strangled.
Ontario Police have said they will be reopening eight unsolved murders and dozens of sex crimes in the areas where Williams has lived in the past 30 years.
However, Dubai Police said that it would not comment when asked whether it had reopened any old cases dating from the time Williams was thought to be based in the UAE.
May 19 10 6:59 PM
May 19 10 7:36 PM
I know the though of him having killed more women sent chills down my spine!!! I think its entirely possible that he did. Look how many houses he broke into and got away with it I seriously doubt that the two killings he got caught for were his first. He had it all a career, a wife, beautiful properties he was well respected in the community and that still was not enough to satisfy him.
May 19 10 10:39 PM
I know the though of him having killed more women sent chills down my spine!!! I think its entirely possible that he did. Look how many houses he broke into and got away with it I seriously doubt that the two killings he got caught for were his first. He had it all a career, a wife, beautiful properties he was well respected in the community and that still was not enough to satisfy him.
May 21 10 9:59 AM
These two murders may not have been the start of his murdering innocent women. I just don't understand how someone comes to the conclusion one day that people are garbage and don't deserve to live. I thought that was God's call, not ours.
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