Coun. Russ Wyatt charged with sexual assault
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 10:24AM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, July 11, 2018 6:34PM CST
Transcona city councillor Russ Wyatt has been charged with sexual assault.
Winnipeg police said he was released on a promise to appear in court after an arrest was made Tuesday.
“On July 10th 2018, investigators arrested a 48-year-old male. Russell George Wyatt has been charged with sexual assault," said Const. Rob Carver.
Police say on Jan. 14, 2018, officers responded to a report of a serious sexual assault that occurred at a residence in the city. Wyatt was interviewed shortly thereafter by investigators. Six months later, police say the service received lab results.
"In this case I can tell you that that information was not provided to the Winnipeg Police Service until yesterday (Tuesday), so that's how fast it moved once we received that information," said Carver.
Police said the victim is a woman known to Wyatt, but this is not a domestic case; the victim is not Wyatt's spouse.
Word of Wyatt's arrest and the charge sent shockwaves through city hall.
"Criminal sexual assault charge is very, very serious. I, like many people at city hall and I’m sure in the community are trying to process it," said Mayor Brian Bowman.
Wyatt responded to CTV News in a text, writing:
“I have no comment to make regarding the allegation against me other than to say I am innocent of any wrongdoing. I will defend myself in a court of law and will only respond further to the allegation in a court room,” wrote Wyatt.
He is presumed innocent, the charge has not been tested in court.
Earlier this year, Wyatt spent 79 days in an addictions treatment centre. He returned to council in May, came out as bisexual at the Winnipeg Pride parade, then announced he wasn't seeking re-election this fall.
“I'm not changing my mind,” Wyatt said on the floor of council in June.
However, Wyatt did change his mind, by taking back his resignation while also musing about a run for mayor.
Despite the charge Wyatt can still sit as a city councilor. He would only be removed if there is a conviction.