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Branded for Life


Branded for Life
Post by a on Apr 3, 2006, 3:59am

It’s a bit late to be starting over again, but at 53 that’s exactly what John Hudak is trying to do. There’s a new town, Trail, B.C., and, he hopes, a new career. He’s studying to be an insurance adjuster.

That’s not exactly how he’d planned it. After 24 years on the force Hudak always thought he’d retire as a respected RCMP officer.

“I realized my career has taken an irreversible turn,” Hudak told W-FIVE. “It’s gone down a road that I didn’t want it to go.”

The road started in Rocky Mountain House, a small town tucked into the foothills of the Alberta Rockies.

It seemed like a perfect fit, and indeed for a while it was. Here was a respected cop, a small-town guy at heart, a devoted father and minor league hockey coach. But then something happened that would mark Hudak to this day.

“It doesn’t matter what type of solution you use to remove the mark, there’s something left,” he said.

The strange tale began in 2000, when Hudak started getting a number of mysterious, silent calls at home.

“I would pick up the phone and there’d be silence and then, all of a sudden, there was a click.”

Hudak didn’t give the calls much thought until after a 58-year old nurse by the name of Mildred Johnson filed a complaint with the detachment commander, Sergeant Larry Russell. Johnson alleged Hudak – during the course of a routine investigation – had been rude to her at the hospital where she worked

“I explained I would like have her come into the office and she and I and John sit down and see if we could resolve her complaint,” said Larry Russell, who has since retired from the force. “And she said that would be fine.”

In the meantime, Hudak remembered he’d heard Mildred Johnson’s name before – from a waitress at a local coffee shop. Johnson, it turns out, had developed a bit of a crush on the Mountie and the waitress – a mutual friend – was trying to fix them up.

“She said, ‘you’re a nice guy, she’s a nice person. I was just wondering if you would be interested in, in meeting her'”, recalled Hudak. “I was not interested at all.”

Mildred Johnson, say friends, felt snubbed.

Hudak, meanwhile, had noticed something else – the phone number on Johnson’s complaint form was the same one that had been appearing on Hudak’s call display at home. Those mysterious, silent calls had been coming from none other than Mildred Johnson.

Still, John hoped the meeting with Mildred and Sergeant Russell would clear things up.

It didn’t. All of a sudden her complaint wasn’t just about John being rude. During the meeting Johnson alleged Hudak had been on cocaine when he’d been at the hospital.

“I could feel my anxiety level just really went up because there’s no way, I have never even so much as touched a joint of marijuana in my entire life, let alone get involved with cocaine,” said Hudak.

Alleged rape

Mildred Johnson eventually dropped that complaint – but not her obsession with John Hudak. In fact for Hudak, things were about to get a whole lot worse.

He didn’t know it at the time, but a few months after filing her original complaint Mildred Johnson went to the Mounties again – this time with a far more serious allegation. Hudak, she claimed, had raped her on the living room couch of her trailer home.

John had no idea he was now under investigation, no idea he was being watched, his phone tapped. All he knew is that those phone calls from Mildred had started again.

“And she starts threatening me on the phone that she’s going to go after my job,” recalled Hudak.

The first Hudak heard of the rape allegation was from Mildred Johnson herself, during a call she made while the police were listening in.

“I want, first of all, I want to know why it was that you came to my house and, and raped me like you did. I want to know why you did that,” Johnson is heard saying on the tape.

“Well, when she said that, I just thought this thing has gone right over the top,” Hudak told W-FIVE.

But it wasn’t until he was hauled in for questioning that Hudak discovered Johnson had gone to the Mounties with her allegation. And just like that, in the blink of an eye, Hudak had gone from a respected cop and an upstanding member of the community to a criminal suspect.

“Now I am mad,” he said. “This is damn serious.”

Hudak charged

John tried everything to clear his name – he even decided on his own to take a lie detector test. The results suggested he was telling the truth when he denied any sexual improprieties with Mildred Johnson.

Hudak’s lawyer offered to show the results to the investigators but the Mounties weren’t interested in seeing them. And as things began to spiral out of control, John began to fear the worst – that he could end up behind bars.

“If that happens, everything I have is lost,” he told W-FIVE. “As a police officer and as a sexual offender to end up going to jail, that is effectively a death sentence.”

Five months after starting their investigation, the RCMP charged Hudak with sexually assaulting Mildred Johnson – and with threatening to kill her if she told anyone about it.

“It was like a kick in the stomach,” he recalled. “This was the most vile attack on my character. I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

And his former boss – who had serious concerns right from the start about Mildred Johnson’s credibility, and expressed those concerns to his own superiors – was powerless to stop it.

“I just expressed my opinion that we were prosecuting an innocent person and that something should be done to stop it, it shouldn’t continue.” said Larry Russell.

Private eye

In a desperate attempt to clear his name, Hudak hired a private investigator – Terry Blagborne, himself a former Mountie. Blagborne soon discovered some big problems with the RCMP investigation starting with the DNA analysis that was done on Johnson’s couch, on which the alleged assault took place.

“The DNA analysis that was done by the RCMP came back as a mixed sample,” said Blagborne.

In other words, police had found Johnson’s DNA, along with that of an unknown male – not John Hudak’s.

Johnson tried to explain that by telling investigators she’d had the couch steam-cleaned right after the alleged rape. The problem was the receipt she produced to prove it was a fake. She’d photocopied a fridge magnet from a local cleaner and used it to create an invoice – a crude forgery, which the Crown would enter into evidence.

And as Hudak’s private eye continued to dig, he discovered some disturbing information that came from Mildred’s own sister – information the sister had already passed on to the police and the crown attorney.

“She told him ‘my sister has deep seated mental problems, she’s a pathological liar, be very careful here. I don’t think this is actual.'” Blagborne told W-FIVE.

The Mounties should have had other reasons to be suspicious. When they sent Mildred’s written account of the rape to one of their own experts for analysis, the conclusion was that Mildred Johnson was lying.

The trail to Texas

After conducting a routine background check on Mildred Johnson, RCMP investigators discovered she had faced charges in the United States, where she once lived.

If the investigating Mounties had looked into it more closely, as Hudak’s private investigators did, the trail would have led them to Humble, Texas, just outside of Houston. There, they would have discovered some interesting similarities with the case unfolding in Rocky Mountain House.

Richard and Billie Stubblefied have managed to put the whole episode behind them. But 16 years ago, just after they’d begun seeing each other, Billie began getting some very disturbing calls from a woman who once dated Richard.

“It’s a situation where she would start out talking to me as my friend. She would want to share things with me about why I shouldn’t see him,” said Billie Stubblefield.

“After many, many calls and I was still seeing him, she told me that he had molested his own two children!”

Those outrageous allegations were made by a nurse who worked at the local hospital and who may well have been feeling jilted – a nurse by the name of Mildred Johnson.

One particularly disturbing call convinced Billie Stubblefield it was time to act.

“That call I certainly remember (because it was directed at my 16-year-old daughter). Millie said that she knew where we lived, knew where my daughter went to school and that she was going to throw sulphuric acid in my daughter’s face,” she told W-FIVE. “At that time I said, enough is enough.”

She started recording Johnson’s calls and took those tapes to the local police. Mildred Johnson was charged with harassment, placed on community supervision and fined $200. Shortly afterwards she moved back to Canada.

Humble Police Capt. Curtis Mills still has the file on Mildred Johnson and told W-FIVE – after learning of the case against John Hudak in Canada – that he was shocked the Mounties never contacted him.

“I would say it has a great deal of relevance to their case and I think they would have wanted to know or have this information at hand. But as far as I know we were never contacted by anyone,” said Capt. Mills.

Hudak on trial

On the surface it didn’t seem like the Mounties had much of a case: DNA that didn’t match, forged evidence and an accuser who had threatened and lied in the past. And yet in February, 2002, John Hudak went on trail for sexually assaulting Mildred Johnson.

Hudak could barely control his emotions when he talked about the effect on his two children.

“And this person (Mildred Johnson) may have just come along here and cut me off at the knees through this allegation. And what’s this going to do to my relationship with my kids? That bothered me, a lot. And it still does to this day,” he said with tears welling in his eyes.

But the case unravelled quickly and John Hudak was acquitted on both charges. Clearly bothered by the flimsy evidence against the Mountie, Justice Jack Holmes in his ruling wondered…

“…if this matter would have ever gone to trial if Constable Hudak had not been a policeman. It seems to me that the crown has extended itself in this case to try to give the public the perception that policemen receive no special treatment…Unfortunately, a dedicated and respected policeman has been seriously maligned.”

Mildred Johnson was charged with perjury, forgery and public mischief. She pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury; and one count each of forgery and uttering a forged document – a charge of public mischief was dismissed – and sentenced to six months of house arrest.

Following his acquittal, Hudak tried to put the ordeal behind him and get on with his life and his career. It wasn’t so simple.

Branded

Charges of sexual assault – even when you’re acquitted of them – can be extremely difficult to shake, as Hudak found out in Calgary where he’d been transferred.

Some members of the secretarial staff at the local police service had read an article about Hudak’s case and complained to his new RCMP detachment commander. Hudak said they obviously had doubts about his innocence.

“They’re wondering,” he said.

And people kept on wondering even after John was transferred again to Trail, B.C. In spite of his acquittal, in spite of the fact his accuser, Mildred Johnson, was now discredited, Hudak just couldn’t shake the image of a good cop gone bad, or the whispers and sideways glances on the street.

Finally, he decided enough was enough. Hudak quit the RCMP and decided the only way to truly clear his name was to take the Mounties, the government and Mildred Johnson to court. He’s suing them for $5 million.

In the statement of claim, Hudak’s lawyer, Robb Beeman, is alleging malicious prosecution.

“In my view at the trial there was no question the crown prosecutor and the RCMP knew Mildred Johnson was a liar,” Beeman told W-FIVE.

Beeman says the Mounties went overboard to give the public the perception there’s no special treatment for RCMP officers charged with this sort of crime

Krill and Fraser

Among the individuals named in the lawsuit are Dennis Krill, the lead RCMP investigator, and Ian Fraser, the crown prosecutor. Neither man had much to say when approached by W-FIVE.

“No, I can’t talk to you, I’m under instructions not to talk to anybody,” said Fraser as he hurried away from our cameras.

As for Dennis Krill, he retired from the RCMP and now works for the town of Sylvan Lake, Alberta. He declined to answer our questions about why he never followed up on Mildred Johnson’s record in Texas. Nor would he comment on the judge’s contention that Hudak would never have been prosecuted had he not been an RCMP officer.

“I really can’t offer an opinion on what the judge said,” Krill told W-FIVE outside his office.

Mildred Johnson, the woman who started it all, wasn’t too happy to hear from us either. When we knocked on her door to get her side of the story, the door was closed smartly in our faces.

Closed doors and few answers are exactly what John Hudak’s been facing ever since this strange nightmare began. And he’s still not sure he’ll ever be able to put it behind him.

“I really don’t know. Until I see some accountability from the prosecutor’s office and from the Mounted Police, I can’t see putting this behind me.”

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Re: Branded for Life
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Apr 3, 2006, 8:44am

A year ago I worked with a former Army Captain. He told me about a “Fiancee” he had. She and he were dating for a year and a half. Her job required alot of travel. He presented he with a ring. And got a very strange reaction. She wanted to think it over. A mutual Friend informed him that he saw her with another Man at a local eatery.

Turns out Muffin was Married and lied to him. Turns out Muffin was dating him and two other Men besides. She was weighing her offers. Yeah you read that right.
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Re: Branded for Life
Post by chrisw79 on Apr 3, 2006, 4:19pm

This reads exactly like what happened to my father, save for the fact that my dad was a teacher. If any position carries more of this stigma than a cop, it’s a teacher. He couldn’t even go to a coffee shop and have some tea without people looking at him, whispering, giving evil glances. This in a town of over 80,000 people.

Even if this Hudak wins his suit (and I sincerely hope he does, though I wouldn’t hold my breath), he will never escape that stigma. It’s now built into Western society to ostracize and belittle anyone who dares breach that sacred topic of women’s superiority.

I feel like vomiting.
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Re: Branded for Life
Post by celibateforlife on Apr 3, 2006, 5:21pm

My ex conspired to fabricate false domestic abuse during the divorce. As soon as I realized she was twisting my innocent words and actions to fit the definition of abuse, I cut her off completely. She had mental problems too. It was no longer safe to even email her.

Her lawyer told her she didn’t have a case and to stop being histrionic. The authorities told her she didn’t have a case. This came to my attention through discovery materials.

Lemme tell you, this is scary shit to go through knowing how easy it is to falsely accuse someone of abuse. It has really destroyed my trust in women. She could have destroyed my career.

Combined with exploitation of false sexual harassment at today’s work environment, I refuse to acknowledge women at work unless we are on a team and even at that it is strictly business.

Women are dangerous. I mean, this mountie refused her advances and she ruined his life anyway. WTF is that?!?
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Re: Branded for Life
Post by kris on Apr 4, 2006, 12:09am

I saw this W-Five episode also. I wanted to vomit.

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Re: Branded for Life
Post by dickthedog on Apr 4, 2006, 12:11am

This innocent man could have gotten 15 years or more in prison, and the lying skank gets 6 mos. house arrest. Men are truly second class citizens.
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Re: Branded for Life
Post by nemo on Apr 4, 2006, 2:49am

This is an interesting study in contrasts.

This is “justice” for a man who is a Mountie, a member of one of the most respected law enforcement organizations in the world:

Quote:

“As a police officer and as a sexual offender to end up going to jail, that is effectively a death sentence.”

This is “justice” for a psychotic woman:

Quote:

Millie said that she knew where we lived, knew where my daughter went to school and that she was going to throw sulphuric acid in my daughter’s face,” she told W-FIVE. “At that time I said, enough is enough.”

She started recording Johnson’s calls and took those tapes to the local police. Mildred Johnson was charged with harassment, placed on community supervision and fined $200.

Quote:

Mildred Johnson was charged with perjury, forgery and public mischief. She pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury; and one count each of forgery and uttering a forged document – a charge of public mischief was dismissed – and sentenced to six months of house arrest.

‘Nuff said.
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Written by dontmarry

November 19, 2007 at 7:11 am

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