The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) — responsible for management of the Beaver Valley Arena located in Fruitvale — have responded to a police report that a regional district arena employee was arrested on allegations of voyeurism the night of Nov. 16.
The accused, a 21-year-old man, is alleged to have set up his phone to record young women inside the changing room, according to a Nov. 17 RCMP news release.
The regional district confirmed in a Thursday afternoon (Nov. 17) statement that the employee has been temporarily suspended.
“Public welfare and safety is at the heart of everything we do here at the RDKB and we are taking these disturbing allegations extremely seriously,” said Mark Andison, chief administrative officer, RDKB.
“RDKB management and staff are working very closely with the RCMP as they carry out their investigation and as a precaution, will be checking all arena restrooms and locker rooms to ensure the ongoing safety of patrons and facility users,” he added.
“We’re shocked, angry and saddened that this troubling incident has taken place in our community and that trust has been breached but we will do everything in our power to support the investigation, help bring it to a swift conclusion and act on any lessons learnt.”
The RDKB has a rigorous criminal check policy, Andison clarified, noting, “All RDKB employees who work with children and vulnerable individuals, or who have access to RDKB financial resources, undergo a criminal records check before being hired.”
Andison says the incident is the first of its kind for the RDKB, and is currently in the hands of the Trail RCMP.
Victim services is providing support to any members of the public or staff affected and the suspected employee will not be permitted further access to the arena, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Police say the young women noticed a cell phone in their change room while preparing for a Wednesday night hockey practice, and brought it to the attention of a parent.
The parent seized the cell phone and turned it over to a responding police officer.
The officer’s investigation led to the arrest of the suspect, who was in the arena.
“I would like to commend the girls for their actions and notifying a parent immediately,” said detachment commander Sgt. Mike Wicentowich. “Trail RCMP is in contact with the arena management and will work with them so measures can be put in place to help prevent this from occurring again in the future.”
The police took the man into custody and later released him on several conditions, such as he is to have no contact with any of the victims and he is not to enter a place with anyone under 18.
In addition to being barred from entering the Beaver Valley Arena, he is prohibited from possessing any recording device.
The man is expected to make his first appearance in court next year on Feb. 23.
Beaver Valley Arena
Considered a hub of the Beaver Valley, the Beaver Valley Arena was built in 1974 and hosts the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Junior B Hockey Club, the Beaver Valley Skating Club and Greater Trail Minor Hockey.
The Beaver Valley recreation department oversees and schedules ice times and special events in the arena.
(Editor’s note: The ages are not being released to protect the young women involved.)