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Winnipeg police charge basketball referee with sexual assault

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A basketball referee is facing sexual assault charges after Winnipeg police say two victims have come forward.

Winnipeg police said its sex crimes unit started an investigation in April after two men reported historical incidents that happened to them while they were referees for the Manitoba Association of Basketball Officials (MABO).

Police said the men identified the accused as another referee with the organization.

The first victim reported to police that between 2010 and 2011 he had been in a closed office with the accused when the man started speaking in a 'sexual manner' and committed an indecent act in front of him.

The second victim, police said, reported that in February 2020, he and the accused had reffed a game together out of town.

"After the game, the accused gave the victim a ride and parked the vehicle in a secluded area on the way home," police said in a news release. "Without provocation, the accused performed an indecent act. He then sexually assaulted the victim."

The victim said he was sexually assaulted again in August 2020 when the accused allegedly invited him to his house for a party with basketball officials, but arrived to find he was the only one there.

Police said the two victims, both over 18 when the incidents happened, told police they did not initially report what happened for fear it would impact their refereeing careers. The accused, police said, was in a position of authority and was responsible for assigning games to other referees.

In late November, investigators arrested 42-year-old Michael Shane Maryk, who has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of indecent assault.

The charges have not been proven in court. Police said the man was released on an undertaking. 

Adam Wedlake, the executive director of Basketball Manitoba, told CTV News via email that Maryk was removed from 'any level of influence within the basketball community' when the organization learned of the investigation. He also identified Maryk in a photo from a previous CTV Winnipeg story in February 2023.

"We take matters of this nature extremely seriously, and the individual is ineligible to participate in any Basketball Manitoba / MABO sanctioned programs," Wedlake said in the statement.

He said the organization will not be commenting further as the investigation is ongoing.

Police told CTV News there is always potential for additional victims and are encouraging anyone who may have been victimized to contact investigators. 

CTV News Winnipeg has reached out to Maryk for comment.

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