September 9, 2019 5:33 pm
Updated: September 9, 2019 7:14 pm

Port Moody mayor facing sexual assault charge returning to work

Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov is returning to his position after taking a voluntary leave to address an accusation of sexual assault.

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Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov is returning from his voluntary leave of absence, despite an unresolved accusation of sexual assault.

Vagramov is facing one charge of sexual assault over an incident alleged to have happened while he was a city councillor in 2015.

Vagramov has denied the accusation and has previously said he plans to sue his accuser — whose name is protected by a publication ban — for defamation.

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“My file has been extensively inspected and reviewed and discussed by the Crown and my legal counsel,” said Vagramov Monday.

“And what was initially pursued as quite a scary indictment, has since been starkly reduced to a summary matter with the Crown and my legal counsel once again exploring a resolution that would not involve a trial at all.”

READ MORE: Port Moody Mayor gives up $111K salary while on leave due to sex charge

Vagramov declined multiple times to further clarify his statement, saying he was unable to go into any other details of the legal issue.

In a statement, the BC Prosecution Service said Vagramov’s case is still unresolved.

“The original sexual assault charge against Mr. Vagramov is still before the court,” said a BCPS spokesperson in an email.

“The Special Prosecutor indicated for the record that the Crown was proceeding summarily on the charge back on June 17, 2019. As the matter remains before the court neither the Special Prosecutor nor the BCPS will be commenting on the proceedings or the circumstances of the alleged offence.”

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, sexual assault can be either prosecuted as an indictable offence, with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, or a summary offence with a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail.

Court records list the next date on file for his case as Sept. 12.

WATCH (March 28, 2019): Port Moody mayor charged with sexual assault

Vagramov said despite the case not being closed, he felt he needed to return to work to begin implementing policies he was elected on in last fall’s municipal election, many of which he said were slow moving issues and would take time to implement.

He rejected the notion that he would have trouble earning the public’s trust or be a  given the unresolved nature of his legal case.

READ MORE: Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov denies sexual assault allegation, takes leave of absence to fight charge

“The reason that I left originally … is specifically to be able to put my focus and attention on that legal case. And at this point as far as I am concerned, the heavy lifting is done,” Vagramov said.

“I’m really excited to be getting back, I think we have some really important work to get done, I am extremely regretful that there is lost time.”

Sexual assault allegation

According to the alleged victim, whose identity can’t be shared, the pair went on several dates in the spring of 2015 after meeting on the Tinder dating app.

On their last date, the accuser alleges Vagramov became “sexually aggressive.”

Vagramov has previously said he has already submitted to a polygraph test for investigators, which he said he passed, and the results have been handed over to police.

The mayor took the leave of absence on March 29, and in June agreed to give up his salary while off the job.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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