A Maple Ridge man who works as a child and youth care worker in the city’s school district is now facing several charges of sexual assault and producing child pornography, and sources say his history with children dates back decades.
Ridge Meadows RCMP announced the charges Thursday against Daniel Jon Olson, who learned of the charges during a court appearance on Friday, March 8.
According to police, Olson, 52, is facing one count of possessing child pornography; one count of making, printing, publishing or possessing child pornography for the purpose of publication; eight counts of sexual interference; and two counts of sexual assault with a weapon.
Police say they are continuing to investigate the allegations against Olson, adding all of the sexual assault charges are also related to offences against youth.
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In a statement, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District said Olson has worked as a child and youth care “in a number of our elementary and secondary schools over the course of his employment.”
“While we have no first-hand knowledge about the charges, we are informing all our families out of an abundance of caution so that parents/guardians can direct any information they may have about this matter directly to the Ridge Meadows RCMP,” the statement from superintendent Sylvia Russell read.
Russell added Olson has been on unpaid leave since the time the school district was made aware of his arrest, which reportedly happened in February.
A spokesperson for the school district said they couldn’t release the list of schools Olson has worked for, citing the ongoing investigation.
But a letter found online that was sent to parents of students at Eric Langton Elementary at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year listed Olson as the school’s child care worker and listed an email address to contact him at. That email has since been disabled.
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Multiple sources close to the accused told Global News Olson also has a long history of serving as a foster parent in B.C., with some saying he had cared for their own children
In a statement, the Ministry of Children and Family Development wouldn’t confirm Olson has ever been a foster parent, but did say they take the allegations seriously.
“As soon as we became aware of these allegations the ministry took steps to ensure this individual had no further contact with children in care,” a spokesperson said.
“The ministry works with police, as appropriate, in any ongoing police investigation.”
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In a new statement Friday, the ministry said a full assessment of any prospective foster parent is always conducted before they are approved to provide care — including a criminal record check, reference checks and a home study.
“Caregivers are monitored regularly from the beginning of a child’s placement until their departure from the home,” the ministry said, adding resource workers are required to maintain contact with the foster parent at least every 90 days to ensure the safety and well-being of each child in care.
In addition, social workers must have private contact with the foster children at least once every 90 days.
Documents also show Olson has had experience as a youth soccer and hockey coach, with his name being listed as a contact for at least one U11 soccer club in the Maple Ridge area.
Ridge Meadows RCMP are urging any potential victims of Olson to come forward, and for parents to talk to their children.
“This is a perfect time for parents to talk to their children,” Cpl. Amanda Harnett said Friday. “If anyone feels like they may have had interactions with Mr. Olson and have questions about that, please contact us.”
Olson’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 2.
—With files from Srushti Gangdev and Sarah MacDonald