People in Pitt Meadows are wondering how David Murray, a councillor who was found guilty of sexual assaulting a minor on Wednesday, can remain on city council after his conviction.
The short answer: there’s no mechanism to remove him.
But now that he’s been found guilty, he’s facing calls from council colleagues to resign.
WATCH: Pitt Meadows councillor convicted of sex assault
Murray had coached basketball at Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Secondary School for 20 years, and also coached at Capilano College.
He also edits Pitt Meadows Today, an online news site.
First elected to Pitt Meadows council in 2011, then re-elected in 2014, Murray is now being urged to step aside by fellow councillors including Tracy Miyashita.
“It’s very troubling to sit on council with him during this whole year actually,” she told Global News.
“And now that he has been convicted, I think the right thing to do is to step down.”
But Murray nevertheless has at least one friend on council: Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker, who has called him “one of my best friends for many years.”
Becker is looking over his options, now that Murray has been convicted, and he said the criminal charges had nothing to do with public business at the city.
“Anymore than somebody who’s gone bankrupt… or in a messy divorce,” he said.
Pitt Meadows residents feel differently: “Sexual assault is little more extreme than bankruptcy or divorce,” one said.
Miyashita has accused Becker of allowing his relationship with Murray to “cloud his judgment.”
And Tracy Porteous of the Ending Violence Association of BC said he’s sending the wrong message.
“Not speaking up and not saying anything is the exact same as saying, ‘It’s OK,'” she said.
A date for sentencing has not been set yet. Murray is due in court to fix one on Jan. 10.
— With files from Simon Little, Kyle Benning and Emily Lazatin