Luke Strimbold, outside Burns Lake municipal offices. (Black Press Media file photo)

Former mayor facing sex charges involving minors during time in office

Luke Strimbold faces 24 sex-related charges from alleged incidents in October 2015 to November 2017

The charges Luke Strimbold is facing allegedly involve minors under the age of 16 with more than half believed to have occurred while he was the Burns Lake mayor, court documents show.

Strimbold, 28, is facing 24 counts of sexual assault and sex-related charges, which are currently under charge assessment by the B.C. Prosecution Service, spokesperson Dan McLaughlin confirmed with Black Press Media.

Since being arrested and released on Feb. 3, Strimbold is under police conditions that include not being in contact with people under the age of 18 and that he cannot be at places where young people gather.

A special prosecutor, Leonard Doust, QC, has been appointed to oversee the case.

According to court documents, four victims are believed to be involved in the charges, whose identities are protected under a publication ban.

In total, Strimbold is facing eight counts of sexual assault and 16 counts of sex-related offences including uninvited touching of three of the alleged victims who were under the age of 16 at the time.

Some of the charges date back to incidents believed to have occurred between October 2015 and March 31, 2016, court documents reveal.

The most recent incidents are believed to have occurred between July and November of 2017.

None of these charges have been proven in court.

Strimbold announced his resignation in September 2016, cutting his four-year term short after being re-elected in 2014.

At the time, Strimbold said he made this decision after careful consideration and that he had “mixed emotions.”

READ MORE: Burns Lake reeling after allegations of sexual assault against former mayor

READ MORE: Special prosecutor appointed in Burns Lake mayor sex assault case

“I’m staying in Burns Lake and going to spend more time focusing on our family company, pursing educational opportunities, and most importantly spending quality time with my family,” he told Black Press Media.

In a statement last week, Burns Lake RCMP said investigators believe there could be more alleged victims, who can call Burns Lake RCMP non-emergency number at 250-692-7171 or Crime Stoppers.

Strimbold set to appear in provincial court April 6

After resigning from his municipal role, Strimbold soon became a member of the BC Liberal Party, taking on the role of membership chair for the provincial executive board.

Since news of the charges broke, Strimbold has been removed from the BC Liberal’s website.

In a brief statement, the party says they became aware of the matter this afternoon via social media and that Strimbold has now resigned as membership chair and as a member of the party.

According to its website, Strimbold also holds the position of an administrator for Burns Lake forestry company E.A. Strimbold Ltd., which describes itself as a “family owned business that prides itself in being the biggest small company around.”

Other Strimbold family members are listed as colleagues.

He’s also remained close with the community of Burns Lake, serving as the president of the Burns Lake & District Chamber of Commerce. His term ended March 7.

Strimbold is set to make an appearance in provincial court in Burns Lake on April 6.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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