B.C. First Nations chief Ed John charged with sexual assault

The charges against the long-serving First Nations Summit executive date back 45 years

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      B.C. hereditary chief Ed John has been charged with four counts of sexual assault in a complaint that stretches back 45 years.

      The alleged offences involved one female person and are said to have taken place in and around the Prince George area in B.C.'s Interior between March and September 1974, according to a statement released today (November 14) by the B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS).

      BCPS communications counsel Dan McLaughlin said in the release that the service appointed lawyer Michael Klein as special prosecutor in the case on February 22, 2019. Klein's mandate was described as helping the ongoing RCMP investigation with legal advice and assuming conduct of the prosecution if he approved charges.

      Grand Chief John, a lawyer and hereditary chief of the Tl'azt'en First Nation in B.C.'s northern Interior, served in the B.C. NDP cabinet as minister for children and families in 2000 and 2001; the B.C. Liberals appointed him a special advisor on child welfare in 2015.

      John also served 11 terms on the political executive of B.C.'s First Nations Summit and is considered one of the architects of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which was adopted this year by the B.C. government. John is married to former Musquean chief Wendy Grant-John.

      None of the charges have been proven in court. John is scheduled to appear in Prince George provincial court on December 10, 2019.