Chaulk pleads guilty of assault, other charges 0
Striking widespread fear throughout the community, a Petawawa soldier admitted Tuesday he assaulted two women at the base over two years ago.
In the two brazen attacks committed under cover of darkness, Cpl. Christopher Chaulk entered a private married quarter (PMQ) and pulled his helpless victim from her bed, while grabbing another as she strolled down a wooded pathway, a Pembroke superior court heard.
The 28-year-old member of the Canadian Forces pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing bodily harm, robbery, break and enter, unlawfully in a dwelling house and being masked while committing an indictable offence.
Although Cpl. Chaulk’s trial was scheduled to begin this week, the matter was quickly adjourned after the soldier entered the guilty pleas and the court accepted a statement of agreed facts jointly presented by Crown attorney Jason Nicol and defense counsel Lorne Goldstein.
The statement accepts Cpl. Chaulk’s role in two terrifying assaults that occurred during the early morning hours of May 6 and May 8, 2010. The court heard that on the evening of May 5, a woman had finished her shift at a town establishment and was then driven home to her PMQ on the base’s south side. Around 3 a.m., she awoke from her sleep to see a masked figure standing at her bedroom door. Cpl. Chaulk was described as wearing a dark navy blue fleece jacket, dark jeans, multi-coloured sneakers and black cotton gloves.
The figure lunged at her, pulling the victim from the bed and dragging her into the upstairs hallway. She screamed “no” repeatedly as the assailant pinned her down onto her back and forced his hand down her pants. She struggled and screamed loudly for help, the statement read.
To silence her, Cpl. Chaulk pushed his fingers into her mouth. She struggled to pull his hand from her mouth. The soldier then got off the floor and ran from the dwelling. The victim, who will not be identified due to a court-ordered publication ban, fled to a neighbour’s home and knocked on their door. Failing to rouse anyone, she returned to her home to find her phone had been unplugged. The victim was later taken to hospital and treated for numerous bruises, multiple cuts and swelling to her mouth and face. She also sustained bruising to her left arm and leg.
At the time, Cpl. Chaulk, who was originally based at Canadian Forces Station St. John’s, was training to deploy to Afghanistan as part of Task Force 1-10. Two nights later on May 7, he left his barracks and walked to a friend’s house on the base. After drinking and “rough housing” with some other males, he kicked his Samsung cell phone and lost its back cover. Intoxicated, he took a taxi to a downtown Petawawa nightclub, leaving a small backpack at the house.
At 3 a.m., a woman was leaving the same nightclub. She declined a drive home and decided to walk to a family member’s residence on the base’s north side. She proceeded north up Petawawa Boulevard and walked along the paved sidewalk adjacent to the base’s entrance. According to the statement, she decided to take another paved pathway along a wooded area which leads onto Cleve Avenue.
As she approached the path, the woman became aware of someone walking up behind her. The figure wearing a dark hoodie was jogging towards her. Turning to face him, the man grabbed her arms, pushing her to the ground. She attempted to kick him as she fell. The assailant, later identified as Cpl. Chaulk, got on top of her and forced her face into the ground. She began screaming for help but was told to “shut up” by Cpl. Chaulk, who repeatedly punched her in the head and face. He then kicked her in the stomach and dragged her by the hair off the path and towards some bushes. During the struggle, he pinched her nose and tried covering her mouth. She tried scratching him but managed to bite his fingers when he stuck his fingers into her mouth.
The statement then noted that, at this point, the victim told her attacker she was giving up. Cpl. Chaulk undid the zipper to her pants but couldn’t get her belt buckle undone. A neighbour living 100 feet away had heard the screams and called 911. As military police arrived at the scene, Cpl. Chalk stole the woman’s cell phone and ran away, dropping his wallet as he made his escape. An MP observed a male running towards the base water tower. The male was seen crossing Petawawa Boulevard and entering the woods.
The victim ran to the cruiser, falling to her knees as she reached the officers. Police retrieved the wallet which contained Cpl. Chaulk’s driver’s licence and military identification. The victim suffered a severely swollen right eye, multiple bruises on her face and head, bruises to her arm, and a chipped tooth. Her cell phone was later recovered near the base’s entrance.
At 4:45 a.m., military police tracked Cpl. Chaulk to a wooded area along one of the base’s perimeter fences near the front gate. The statement recounted that after Cpl. Chaulk refused to comply with police demands, a tracker dog was used to help officers take him into custody. In his possession was a woman’s white lace garter belt, a battery and a back cover for a cell phone (identified as coming from the victim’s cell phone).
Under questioning by military police investigators, Cpl. Chaulk told them he “needed professional help, cause I’ve never done this thing before,” then added, “I just don’t know what happened.”
Retracing his movements on May 6, 2010, Cpl. Chaulk said he walked down to the south side and entered the victim’s residence through an unlocked door. According to the statement of facts, Cpl. Chaulk said he did not know what made him go into the dwelling. He claimed to cut the sleeve off his shirt and used a knife to cut two holes before pulling it over his head. After the incident, he claimed to have knocked the phone over before leaving the premises and running back to his barracks.
Describing his actions on May 8, Cpl. Chaulk couldn’t explain to investigators why he attacked his victim on the pathway, noting only that he had an “unknown urge.” He didn’t admit to punching the victim in the face multiple times and trying to unbuckle her pants. He agreed to write a letter of apology to his victim.
Cpl. Chaulk has been in custody at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre since he was arrested following a joint investigation by military police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS). Sentencing has been adjourned until Dec. 10.