A top military official returned to work on several sexual misconduct reviews for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), despite writing a positive review for a sex offender in 2017.

Maj. Gen. Peter Dawe left his post "immediately" on May 2 with pay when his letter for a service member convicted of sexual assault became public. That officer, Maj. Jonathan Hamilton sexually and physically assaulted the wife of a fellow soldier and was sentenced to three years of probation.

The Ottawa Citizen first reported Dawe returned to work directly with the material from multiple sexual misconduct reviews, following a $68,000 "paid vacation." National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier confirmed Dawe's reinstatement in a new position by acting defence chief Gen. Wayne Eyre. Neither were immediately available for comment.

Le Bouthillier added that Dawe is set to review the recommendations of a June report from former Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish on the "rampant" and "destructive" sexual misconduct within the CAF. And another from former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour on creating an independent reporting system.

In his letter about disgraced Maj. Hamilton, Dawe acknowledged he wanted to influence Hamilton's sentence because he was a "good guy" who "deserved a break." Dawe clarified he never condoned Hamilton's serious offences but highlighted the soldier's military accomplishments and his struggles.

On May 2, 2017, a judge found Hamilton guilty on six criminal counts, including unlawfully entering the Schamuhns' home and sexually assaulting the wife of retired special forces major Kevin Schamuhn's, Annalise, a retired logistics officer, on two occasions. The soldier was also found guilty of physically assaulting Schamuhn twice.

A similar letter from Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry regiment resulted in three years probation for the service member by the judge presiding over the case in conjunction with Dawe's letter. Hamilton later went to prison for three years after a conviction on another unrelated sexual assault.

Eyre issued strong support for Dawe, noting he had complete confidence in the major general. Eyre said Dawe, who was then in command of special forces, accepted responsibility for his actions and had learned from his mistake. However, he issued an apology earlier this year, acknowledging Dawe's actions stoked "division and anger within the CAF."

Parliamentary committees looked into sexual misconduct in the CAF and heard the military protected senior officers at the expense of the victims. Since 2016, there have been more than 2,000 reports of sexual misconduct within the Canadian military, per the Department of National Defence. But the number of military sexual misconduct class action claims has jumped by 170 percent since late December 2020 amid pushback against a toxic culture in the CAF.

After a military police investigation into an alleged inappropriate relationship, retired four-star General Jonathan Vance was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, who served as head of Canada's COVID vaccine rollout until May 14, denied any wrongdoing in his sexual misconduct case. It included filing in Federal Court over 100 heavily redacted pages, mostly short-hand notes by Eyre, and internal email exchanges between top military officials and the federal government on the former's handling of such cases.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also faced repeated opposition calls to resign over his handling of sexual misconduct investigations and supposedly hiring an aide accused of having an improper workplace relationship.