Community looks for assurances following arrest, charges of sexual abuse 

Mountains beef up background checks on employees

Whistler-Blackcomb will now do criminal record checks on every employee who works with kids.

The move comes in response to the arrest of a former employee on several charges of sex assault on children in Whistler.

The charges do not stem from incidents at the ski school or any of Whistler-Blackcomb’s operations.

"We will make sure that in fact 100 per cent of our staff in the children’s area are checked or they won’t work," said Doug Forseth, vice-president of operations for the mountains.

"We recognize that this is where we have to take this and there will be no tolerance for not delivering that level of compliance with this policy we have instituted at the mountains.

"No one would want this to ever happen with any kid and we are going to do the best job we can to make sure this doesn’t happen on our watch."

There is a court order banning publication of the alleged sex offender’s identity in order to protect the complainants.

According to a Whistler RCMP press release the man was arrested April 28 and held in custody. He was to appear in North Vancouver Wednesday, May 14. He is charged with three counts of sexual interference, three counts of invitation to sexual touching, and three counts of sexual assault, all on pre-teen children.

The RCMP’s investigation is on going and Whistler-Blackcomb has been turning over the names of those the alleged offender came in contact with.

There are six alleged victims, five of whom are local.

The accused, an Australian in his late 20s, lived in Whistler for just over a year. During that time he worked for 47 days over two seasons for Whistler Kids Adventure Camp, a program aimed at tourist kids five to 14 years old.

In January this year he left due to injury. His visa also ran out at the end of January.

The accused also tried to start an outdoor club for Whistler kids but it never really got off the ground.

RCMP have confirmed their investigations are not affiliated with any agency in Whistler that involves children.

The accused did not have a criminal record check done by the mountains before being employed.

"The reality is that this guy didn't get checked because he came in at the end of the season," said Forseth.

"Out of our population last year we probably had about 80 per cent of people with background checks and we have a combination of reasons why that other 20 were not done.

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