A member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet unit has been charged with sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in Ontario in December.
Sister Danielle Gasque-Schreiner told reporters the Cadet Daniel Palladini, 20, was arrested on the first day of the training exercise March 22 and charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference, according to CBC News.
Charges were laid about two weeks after the teen was treated at a hospital for symptoms that matched sexual assault, Gasque-Schreiner said. Her family requested privacy, CBC News reported.
Palladini, who is also charged with possessing and accessing child pornography, was released on bail under strict conditions, according to CBC News.
“When we have a predator that is preying on a child, it’s our responsibility as educators to set an example that that’s not OK,” Lt. Col. Allison Moody, commander of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program, told reporters on Friday.
The cadet unit has about 180 cadets and hundreds of volunteers, according to the Toronto Star.
“He is no longer with the program,” Moody said of Palladini, CBC News reported.
“It has been an incredibly difficult day for us all,” she added. “He is no longer a cadet.”
Palladini is enrolled in the university program of the Royal Military College of Canada, according to CBC News.
“As such, I’m not in a position to comment at this time,” Lt. Gen. David Bergeron, superintendent of the college, said in a statement to the CBC.
When the investigation began in December, an investigation unit from the military’s Canada Command was tasked with trying to identify the alleged victim and “ensure the safety of those in attendance,” according to an email letter sent to cadets and posted on Facebook.
“It would be inappropriate to comment on this individual’s alleged actions and circumstances at this time,” Maj. Ross McGlinn, an Air Cadet information officer, said in the note.
It also said the allegations would “include different professional military identifiers (CPC) than the cadet you are — this is primarily for professional reasons.”
The college later emailed cadets asking them to share with other cadets “anything they may have seen or heard that would assist in the effort of gathering information and potentially coming forward with any suspicions,” CBC News reported.
The investigation team was told about “awkward body language” at the incident. The alleged assault reportedly occurred on a field under the command of a junior air cadet and at about 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 7, shortly after the cadets had finished a field exercise.
“It’s hard for me to understand how anyone could stand there and watch that and not report what they saw,” Gasque-Schreiner said.
This article was originally published by The Washington Post. The news was updated March 31, at 11:10 a.m.