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Trial date set for Australian charged with sexual abuse

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An Australian man charged with sexually abusing children while he lived in Whistler has had a trial date set for next January.

The suspect is still in custody on three charges on sexual interference with a person younger than 14, three counts of invitation to sexual touching and three counts of sexual assault.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place between Feb. 1, 2002 and April 28, 2003, the day he was arrested by Whistler RCMP.

The complaints involve six children five of whom are locals.

The charges do not stem from incidents at the ski-school or any of Whistler-Blackcomb’s operations.

According to media reports from Sydney, Australia the suspect was also investigated for sexual misconduct at an exclusive school in 2001, just months before he got his visa to come to Canada.

No charges were laid as a result of the investigation but the suspect did consent to two Apprehended Violence Orders (restraining orders) involving a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old.

Those orders are permanent.

When news of the suspect’s charges broke in Canada the Sydney media picked up the story and the coverage by the Sydney Sun Herald shocked many that read it, including the parents of children the suspect had taught skiing.

The Australian man worked at the Whistler Kids Adventure Camp, which caters to tourist kids from five to 14-years-old, for 47 days over the two seasons he resided in Whistler.

"Everyone I know saw the article in the paper here," said a Sydney father, not named to protect the identity of his children.

"Families from Sydney… were surprised that they hadn’t been contacted by the authorities."

While he does not believe the suspect assaulted his child in ski school, the father was upset to learn about the Canadian charges and the suspect’s background in the media.

"We are members of Club Intrawest and so there would be no reason not to have any of our details," he said.

"It’s the third year (my children) have been in ski school there, and we haven’t been contacted by anyone about this."

Whistler RCMP spokeswoman Michelle Friesen said the investigation is on-going.

"(The investigators) are in the process of (contacting families) but it will take time," she said.

Previously the police have stated that the investigation is "not affiliated with any agency in Whistler that involves children."

According to Christopher Nicolson of Whistler-Blackcomb the names of all the children taught by the suspect have been turned over to the RCMP.

The suspect cannot be identified due to a court ordered ban to protect the identities of the complainants.

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