Surrey RCMP have recommended charges in a sexual assault case from the 1980s.
Mounties charged 68-year-old Brian Robert Walks on March 13 for alleged sexual assaults from the mid- to late-’80s. The assaults were said to have happened in Cloverdale at both Christ Church Surrey Centre and Christ the Redeemer Anglican Parish.
Now Mounties are “seeking additional information from anyone who attended the church during that time,” Corporal Vanessa Munn, Surrey RCMP media relations officer, said in a press release issued May 19.
“Although the alleged incident occurred more than 30 years ago, we believe that there are likely people in the community who attended the church and may have additional information,” added Munn. “Anyone with information, especially those who attended the named churches in the 1980s are asked to contact the Surrey RCMP.”
Munn said police received a report July 8, 2021, about the alleged assaults.
“The alleged sexual assaults occurred between 1985-1988 and involved a young female child who was attending the Sunday school program,” Munn said in the release. “At the time of the offence, the accused was a member of the church committee and Synod Delegate.”
As recent as 2018, Walks was the publicity person for St. Mark’s Ocean Park, an Anglican church in South Surrey. For years, he was an organizer of the church’s Journey of Christmas display each holiday season.
Munn said charges were laid against Walks on March 10, 2022 and and he was arrested three days later. Walks was then released on court-imposed conditions and has limits on making contact with anyone under 16.
“Anyone with information can contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 and request to speak with the Special Victims Unit,” Munn added.
In a statement issued through the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster’s senior legal officer, Bishop John Stephens said “I am deeply saddened by the disturbing information released by the Surrey RCMP… concerning an historical sexual assault in the 1980s at one of the parishes of the Diocese of New Westminster.”
“The accused is a lay leader in our diocese. No complaint alleging misconduct on the part of the accused has ever been received by either the diocese, the parish where he worshipped at the time or his current parish,” Stephens continued.
“However, if a criminal complaint is raised, the diocese defers to and respects the integrity of that process. Allegations of sexual abuse directed toward clergy and lay of our diocese are taken very seriously and action immediately taken.”
The statement goes on to say that when the accusation came to light earlier this spring, Walks was contacted in writing and informed that “effective immediately and until further notice” he was relieved of all ministry responsibilities.
– with files from Nick Greenizan
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