Why was Brangman allowed to stay in the Regiment?
The Bermuda Regiment’s commanding officer and the Deputy Governor say they can’t comment on why Glenn Brangman was allowed to remain in the army for 13 years, when a string of sex abuse accusations were made against him.
As revealed by
The Royal Gazette on Monday, 13 male soldiers made allegations about the former Major between 1989 and 2002.
Only one of the claims went to court, in 2001, when Brangman was cleared of sexually assaulting a corporal. Police decided not to pursue three other complaints.
This newspaper asked Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gonsalves, the Regiment’s commanding officer (CO), if he could explain how an officer could remain in his position for 13 years, in charge of young conscripts, when repeated allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him.
The CO replied yesterday: “I cannot comment on your ... question, as I was not the commanding officer during that period.”
Governor Sir Richard Gozney, the Regiment’s commander-in-chief, is off the Island but we put the same question to Deputy Governor David Arkley.
Mr Arkley said only five years’ worth of files were kept at Government House and it would be wrong of him to second-guess the decision-making of his predecessors.
He added: “The Bermuda Regiment is a microcosm of Bermuda society at large. What happens in the Regiment is a reflection of that wider society.
“And like that wider society, the Bermuda Regiment has, at times, to learn lessons and take steps to improve in a range of areas. In the more than ten years that have passed since the incidents you refer to, much has changed in the Regiment.
“The current commanding officer has instituted a range of enhanced policies and procedures in the areas of equality and diversity training and the handling of complaints and grievances which I fully support and lead me to believe that [the Regiment] is as safe an environment as anywhere else in Bermuda.”
Lt Col Gonsalves did comment on the new procedures developed and implemented during his time in charge at Warwick Camp to tackle harassment, bullying and discrimination.
Those measures include mandatory annual equality and diversity training for all ranks, a streamlined complaint and grievance procedure and the hiring of a part-time staff member who is a former RAF officer and expert in personnel matters.
The CO said the officer followed current UK military joint service procedures for handling such complaints.
Lt Col Gonsalves, who became CO in May 2009, said any serious allegations, such as an assault, would be referred to police.
“During my tenure as CO, there has been one reported case of sexual harassment, which occurred last year between a male soldier and female soldier. This matter was referred to the police.
“It would be wrong for anyone to believe the Regiment can prevent any form of harassment from occurring. To think this way is to likewise believe the police can prevent all crime; they cannot, nor can we.
“What I will declare is that the Regiment has taken steps to educate our soldiers, which we believe will go some way to reducing most occurrences of harassment or bullying.”
He said the army kept records of disciplinary matters, which were reviewed periodically.
“If there is anything to be learned from actions in the past, we will do our utmost to implement procedures in order to prevent repetition.
“In this particular circumstance, there has not been enough to substantiate a trend based on reliable statistical information.
“The Regiment is a professional and accountable organisation, following current best practises. The Regiment remains committed to providing an environment free from discrimination, intimidation, harassment or abuse for its personnel to work and operate in.”
We put questions to Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva about Brangman, 59, including why only one case involving him made it to court.
Mr DeSilva replied: “It should be noted that the DPP (Department of Public Prosecutions) charges and prosecutes offenders, not the police and the police do not publicly discuss the details of criminal investigations that do not appear before the courts.”
He did not answer questions on how many cases involving Brangman police referred to the DPP between 1989 and 2002, how many they recommended be prosecuted or whether they’d be willing to reopen any of the cases they did investigate.
We sent questions to Rory Field, the Director of Public Prosecutions, via a Ministry of Justice spokeswoman. There was no response by press time.