Ed John, a leader of the First Nations Summit and former B.C. cabinet minister, is accused of four counts of sexual assault dating back to 1974.
The B.C. Prosecution Service says in a statement that special prosecutor Michael Klein was appointed in February to look into allegations of sexual offences that were alleged to have occurred in and around Prince George.
The service says Klein has approved four counts of having sexual intercourse with a female without her consent.
The incidents were alleged to have occurred between March 1 and Sept. 15, 1974.
Prosecution service spokesman Dan McLaughlin says the charges are alleged to involve one person.
John, who’s first court appearance is set for Dec. 10, could not immediately be reached for comment.
He is a hereditary chief of Tl’azt’en Nation in northern B.C. and a lawyer who holds honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of Northern British Columbia and the University of Victoria.
John completed his eleventh consecutive term as an elected leader of the First Nations Summit Political Executive in June, not seeking re-election, and served five years on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
His biography also says was involved in the development of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 and implemented by the B.C. government just last month.
In 2015, then-premier Christy Clark appointed John as Special Advisor on Indigenous Children in Care and after extensive consultations he submitted a report one year later containing 85 recommendations to overhaul B.C.’s Indigenous child welfare system.
The recommendations were aimed at improving outcomes for Indigenous children and youth by changing the focus from intervention and separation to strengthening families.
The First Nations Summit, a B.C. organization that advocates for First Nations conducting treaty negotiations directly with government, said in a statement that John had been on contract as an advisor, and all contact has now been suspended.
@FNSummit statement on the BC Prosecution Service media release (November 14, 2019) regarding legal matters pertaining to former FNS Executive member Grand Chief Edward John: https://t.co/Q87mKqLFIl pic.twitter.com/HfMEg8IcaX
— First Nations Summit (@FNSummit) November 14, 2019
– with a file from Black Press Media
The Canadian Press