This story has been updated with a statement from Rob Vagramov.
British Columbia’s youngest mayor has been charged with sexual assault, BC prosecutors announced Thursday.
Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov, who was 26 when elected last October, is charged with one count of sexual assault in connection to a 2015 incident in Coquitlam, BC.
Vagramov told reporters he intends to fight it in court, "including filing a suit for defamation for this continued attack on my character.”
“I want to be absolutely clear: This allegation is false," he said.
BC’s Prosecution Service put out a statement Thursday announcing that it appointed a special prosecutor in December to investigate the alleged incident. Because Vagramov is a public figure, the appointment was “intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice,” according to the statement.
Special prosecutor Michael Klein approved one sexual assault charge Wednesday, and scheduled Vagramov to appear in Port Coquitlam provincial court on April 25..
VICE reached out to Vagramov Thursday morning, but did not receive a response. The mayor will be taking paid leave until the case is resolved, the Vancouver Sun reported.
Vagramov is not the first young mayor to face sexual assault charges in BC.
Former Burns Lake mayor Luke Strimbold, who was 21 when elected in 2011, is facing 29 sex crime charges, including sexual assault, sexual interference, and invitation to sexual touching. The alleged incidents, all involving boys under the age of 16, happened between 2010 and 2017. Some of the boys were unconscious at the time of the alleged assaults, according to the Columbia Valley Pioneer.
Strimbold stepped down as mayor in 2016, before the sexual assault allegations came to light. He is expected to appear in court again in early April.
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