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BC Liberal Exec, Ex-Mayor Faces Sex Charges

Former Burns Lake mayor Luke Strimbold facing 24 charges.

By Andrew MacLeod 2 Mar 2018 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

Luke Strimbold, a former mayor of Burns Lake who sits on the BC Liberal Party’s executive, has been charged with 24 criminal counts that include sexual interference with people under the age of 16 and sexual assault.

The charges against Strimbold include eight counts of sexual assault and five of invitation to sexual touching involving a person under the age of 16. There are also seven counts of sexual interference and four counts of sexual exploitation, an offence that includes the abuse of a position of trust or authority over a young person.

Strimbold was charged in early February, The Tyee learned, but the information has not been reported until now. Strimbold was given a conditional release on Feb. 3. He is scheduled to appear in court April 6 in Burns Lake.

The 11 release conditions include having no contact with people under the age of 18 and staying away from public parks and other places where young people may be present.

Strimbold did not return calls Friday. None of the charges have been tested or proven in court.

There is a publication ban restricting the publishing of any information about the charges that would identify victims or witnesses.

Strimbold was elected mayor of Burns Lake in 2011 at the age of 21, making him the youngest mayor in the province’s history. He was re-elected in 2014, but abruptly resigned in 2016 saying he wanted to spend time with family and pursue business and educational opportunities.

The BC Liberal Party website lists Strimbold as the membership chair on the party’s executive. He was one of four people on the party’s rules committee for the recent leadership contest won by Andrew Wilkinson.

His LinkedIn profile picture shows him standing with his arm around former premier Christy Clark as he receives the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his contributions to his community and country.

He is currently listed as manager of safety, contracts and agreements at E.A. Strimbold Ltd. in Burns Lake, which describes itself as a family-owned forestry company.

Update, 4:42 p.m.: The BC Liberal Party released a statement saying it was unaware of the charges against Strimbold until learning of them on social media Friday afternoon. Strimbold has now resigned as the party's Membership Chair and as a member of the party, it said.

Comments are closed due to the nature of the story.  [Tyee]

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