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A Canadian Judge Asked A Woman In A Sexual Assault Case "Why Couldn't You Just Keep Your Knees Together?"

Robin Camp is being investigated by a judicial council.

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A Canadian federal judge is under review over troubling comments he made in a sexual assault case when he was still a provincial judge in Alberta.

Andrew Balfour / Federal Court

Robin Camp was the judge in a 2014 case in which he acquitted a Calgary man who was accused of raping a 19-year-old homeless woman in a washroom. In his questioning of the young woman, Camp asked her why she didn't fight off the attack more forcefully.

Camp asked the alleged victim: "Why didn't you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn't penetrate you?" and "Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?"

He also wondered why the complainant "allowed the sex to happen if she didn't want it" and suggested her sexual history was worthy of consideration in the case, according to a complaint against the judge by four law professors.

The Alberta Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in the case last month.

The court wrote in a judgement that "the trial judge's comments throughout the proceedings and in his reasons gave rise to doubts about the trial judge's understanding of the law governing sexual assaults" and the meaning of consent.

"We are also persuaded that sexual stereotypes and stereotypical myths, which have long since been discredited, may have found their way into the trial judge's judgment," the judgement read.

The Canadian Judicial Council, a disciplinary body made up of senior judges, announced Monday that it's investigating Camp's handling of the sexual assault case.

Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Camp has issued a public apology and will take "gender sensitivity counseling," according to a Federal Court statement.

"I have come to recognize that things that I said and attitudes I displayed during the trial of this matter, and in my decision, caused deep and significant pain to many people," Camp said in the statement.

He also offered an apology to the complainant in the 2014 case, as well as to "the women who experience feelings of anger, frustration, and despair at hearing of these events."

Camp was named to the Federal Court earlier this year, as part of a wave of patronage appointments by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper ahead of the October election.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

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