The former president of a northern B.C. pride organization has been arrested and charged with committing sex crimes against children under 16, according to the B.C. Prosecution Service.
The former president of a northern British Columbia pride organization has been arrested and charged with committing sex crimes against children under 16, according to the B.C. Prosecution Service.
The charges against Sean Gravells, 39, include touching a person under 16 for sexual purposes, sexual interference of a person under 16, possession of child pornography, and importing or distributing child pornography, BCPS spokesperson Dan McLaughlin told CBC News in an emailed statement on Monday.
The alleged offences all took place in or near Fort St. John, B.C., about 800 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, McLaughlin said. The interference and exploitation charges are for alleged offences on Dec. 29, 2023, while the child pornography charges occurred on Dec. 31, he added.
The allegations have not been tested or proven in court.
Gravells served as board president for the North Peace Pride Society (NPPS) since 2018, according to a now-deleted biography on the organization’s website, but the NPPS says it recently removed him from the role.
In a statement on social media on Friday, NPPS said the board took “swift action” to remove a member who was arrested on Dec. 31 and is now facing “severe charges,” but did not name the member.
“In response to the gravity of the charges, we have immediately removed this person from our board, emphasizing our commitment to our community’s values,” the post on NPPS’s Facebook page read.
“We want to clarify that the society itself is not implicated in any charges; these are isolated to the individual.”
The board member did not work directly with youth through the organization, the statement said. The NPPS added that any volunteers or board members working with youth need a criminal record check, a requirement the organization is now expanding to include all board members.
CBC News has contacted NPPS for further comment.
A spokesperson for Fort St. John RCMP declined a CBC News request to confirm the date and circumstances of Gravells’ arrest, saying, “there is no information available for release at this time.”
McLaughlin said Gravells appeared in provincial court in Fort St. John on Jan. 1 and his arraignment hearing is scheduled for Jan. 29.