Sex assault charge against Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov stayed
VANCOUVER – Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov has reached a deal with prosecutors to have the sexual assault charge against him stayed, but he's still facing a number of tough questions about the case.
Special prosecutor Michael Klein decided to stay the proceedings against Vagramov after confirming the mayor had "successfully completed an alternative measures program," the B.C. Prosecution Service revealed Wednesday.
According to the government, alternative measures give the accused "the opportunity to accept responsibility for the crime and make amends to the community without going to court."
They are only supposed to be offered in cases involving less-serious offences, and are generally only granted to people with no criminal history.
The accused is sometimes asked to make a formal apology and complete community service, but prosecutors said the Criminal Code bars them from commenting on the details of Vagramov's deal without a court order.
The mayor did not appear in court Wednesday and did not respond to two requests for comment from CTV News.
His lawyer, Ian Donaldson, said the allegations stem from an incident four years ago that involved "fully clothed" adults who were on a date. Asked whether Vagramov had apologized to his accuser, Donaldson said: "They've made peace, I would put it that way."
After the allegations against Vagramov came to light earlier this year, the mayor took a five-month leave of absence from his post. He returned to the job in September and held news conference where he suggested he is the victim.
"This matter is and has been an absolute nightmare," Vagramov told reporters.
He took leave again in October amid pressure from some of his colleagues in Port Moody City Hall.
Responding to Wednesday's developments, city councillor Diana Dilworth said the mayor owes it to his constituents to be transparent about the details of his alternative measures deal.
"He hasn't been exonerated, he hasn't been acquitted, he hasn't been cleared," she said.
"Our community has made it really clear that anything short of a complete exoneration could have an impact on his ability to carry on in the role of mayor."
Vagramov remains on leave and hasn't commented publicly about whether he intends to return to the mayor's chair now that the charge against him has been stayed.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's David Molko