October 5, 2017 2:48 pm
Updated: October 5, 2017 3:36 pm

St. Thomas police officer charged in sexual assault involving youth

The Special Investigations Unit headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. are seen on Aug. 24, 2016.

Nakita Krucker / File / The Toronto Star via Getty Images

An investigation into allegations of sexual assault involving a female youth over the course of a year has resulted in a handful of charges against a St. Thomas Police Service officer.

READ MORE: Woman killed in Hamilton crash may have been abducted, SIU investigating

The police service contacted the Special Investigations Unit just over a month ago after receiving complaints against an officer.

According to the SIU, the alleged assaults involved a female youth and took place between January 2016 and January 2017.

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As a result of the investigation, Const. Garry Christiansen is charged with one count each of sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation, and assault.

Christiansen was arrested on Thursday by the SIU and released on a number of conditions. He is due in court on Oct. 17.

READ MORE: Woman alleges she was assaulted by officer at Toronto Police headquarters

St. Thomas Police Service Acting Chief Chris Herridge issued a statement Thursday afternoon, writing “[t]his is a difficult time for the victim, the community and our Police Service” and noting that he cannot comment on the investigation itself.

“PC Christiansen has been with the St. Thomas Police Service since January 3, 1990 and effective this date he has been relieved of his duties and placed on suspension,” the statement continued.

“I can assure you that this is an isolated incident and the members of the St. Thomas Police Service uphold the highest standards of professionalism every day and are dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of every citizen in St. Thomas.”

Herridge noted that investigation is in the hands of the SIU and any questions involving the matter should be directed to that agency.

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