The commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command will be replaced after it came to light that he wrote a letter in support of an officer convicted of sexually assaulting Analise Schamuhn, a fellow officer.

The Department of National Defense on Friday announced that MG Peter Dawe, who commands Canada’s special operations command, will be replaced next week. He was scheduled to rotate out of his command this summer.

“The acting chief of the defense staff Wayne Eyre, as well as Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan, retain confidence in Dawe’s ability to continue to serve Canada,” a released statement from the department said.

“However, the pain of his letter of four years ago persists for those impacted. We must always put victims’ considerations first.”

The letter mentioned in the statement was written by Dawe, when he was the deputy commander of the SF unit, in support of Major Jonathan Hamilton.

Hamilton was found guilty on six criminal counts, including unlawfully entering the home of Major Kevin and Captain Analise Schamuhn and sexually assaulting Mrs. Schamuhn, a retired logistics officer, on two separate occasions. Hamilton was also found guilty of physically assaulting Kevin Schamuhn twice.

Analise Schamuhn was a logistics officer in the CAF who was assaulted twice in her own home by the same officer. (Schamuhn family)

Kevin and Analise Schamuhn’s Ordeal

Hamilton and Kevin Schamuhn both had served in the same regiment and the two had multiple career postings including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2006. In 2013, the two were neighbors. One night, when Kevin Schamuhn was out of town on a training mission, Analise Schamuhn, woke up to find Hamilton in her bed trying to force her to have sex with him. 

Prior to his sentencing, Hamilton asked Dawe for a letter of character reference to sway the judge from being too harsh on him. Dawe wrote a letter citing Hamilton’s military record and leadership abilities. It mentioned the effects of Hamilton’s PTSD as a mitigating factor.