Global BC reporter's sex charges span 10 years
A veteran Global TV reporter who began his career producing a children's variety show has been charged with a string of sex offences against a person under the age of 16.
Longtime radio and television journalist Ron Bencze, 44, was released from police custody Tuesday on a number of strict bail conditions -- including not having contact with any young person -- after making a brief court appearance in Surrey.
Police say the offences date back to 2001, when the victim was just six years old.
Bencze is facing five charges of sexual assault, including two counts of sexual interference with a person under 16 and two of invitation to sexual touching involving a person under 16.
Cpl. Drew Grainger said the married father-of-three was arrested after a brief probe by RCMP.
"The investigation just came to our attention in the last couple of days," he told reporters from the Surrey RCMP detachment, adding that all of the charges are linked to one victim.
The teen victim's identity is protected under a publication ban.
The Kamloops native began his television career producing and hosting a show that billed itself as "the only game show for kids hosted by a kid."
According to an online biography, Bencze moved to Vancouver in 1985 and completed broadcasting degrees at Kwantlen College and the BC Institute of Technology. He later finished a communications degree at Simon Fraser University.
Bencze worked in local radio for many years, moving from Langley's CJUP to Standard Broadcast News. He was an original staff member at News1130 in 1996, eventually becoming the station's crime specialist.
He joined Global BC in August 2004 and has since won accolades for his work on the Robert Pickton serial killer trial and a 2005 series on crystal meth.
In an email, Global BC news director Ian Haysom said the station is "very concerned" about the allegations, but he will not say anything until the organization learns more.
In a message posted to Twitter, Global BC co-worker and news anchor Chris Galius called the charges "shocking news to us."
Galius said the station only learned about the charges late Tuesday afternoon.
The accused is scheduled for a next court appearance on Feb. 7.