Former Surrey church elder charged with sex assault
A former Surrey church elder who has been working as a bus driver is facing sexual assault charges in connection with allegations dating back to 2005, Mounties announced Thursday.
According to the RCMP, the victim was a youth at the time of the alleged incidents, which were not reported to police until last year.
Brian Batke has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation.
Police say the 72-year-old was a member of the Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church. He ended his association with the institution in 2005.
Batke has been a driver for the Coast Mountain Bus Company for about 13 years.
In a statement to CTV News, TransLink, which runs the the company, said Batke has been placed on administrative leave and "will not be returning to active duty pending the outcome of the case."
"Details of Mr. Batke’s employment and his associations in the community are being released to the public because of their relevance to the allegations against him," police said.
"Investigators believe there may be further victims who may have had contact with Mr. Batke at the church or as a bus passenger, who have not yet spoken with police."
Mounties are asking anyone who may have been a victim to come forward by calling investigators at 604-599-0502.
“Speaking with police about a sexual assault can be daunting and takes courage,” Cpl. Elenore Sturko said in the release. “Our investigators are aware of how difficult this process can be for people. We approach our investigations with care and compassion including the assistance of our victim services support workers.”