FILE – Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov reads a statement during a news conference after being charged with sexual assault, at City Hall in Port Moody, B.C., on Thursday March 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

A mayor in Metro Vancouver says a sexual assault charge against him that has now been stayed stemmed from an “awkward date” that could have benefited from more communication.

Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov told a news conference Thursday that he went on a number of dates with a woman in 2015 and it wasn’t a match.

He says it was only four years later that he learned that the complainant had an “issue” with how one date unfolded and he feels “awful” that she was left with a negative impression.

A special prosecutor stayed the charge on Wednesday after Vagramov completed an alternative measures program, which can be used in less serious cases involving offenders with no criminal history.

Vagramov, who has always denied the charge, says the Crown and complainant agreed to the program and it involved an apology to the woman.

He was asked whether he acknowledged any responsibility for the charge as part of the process and he replied that he’s always been clear with prosecutors about what he did and did not do.

“I apologized to the complainant way back when this first came out for the awkward date that we had. I apologized again recently,” he says.

“And if she brought this up back in 2015, I would have gladly apologized then because it was never my intention to leave her with any kind of negative impression.”

The mayor says he’s very happy to have his name cleared and plans to transition back to office over the next few days and resume his full duties in Monday.

In the coming weeks, he says he’ll try to arrange a meeting with the minister of municipal affairs to push for legislative changes to clarify how these situations are handled when a mayor is charged with a crime.

Vagramov says he supports changes that would require government officials who have been charged with a crime to take a leave of absence, and force officials who have been convicted of crimes to leave office permanently.

The mayor took a leave of absence after the charges were announced in March before returning to city hall in September. After an outcry from some fellow councillors, he took another leave in October.

Vagramov says he wants to ensure that no other community in British Columbia goes through something similar and he’s very regretful about some of the division the matter has caused in the community.

“This situation, I think, would have been handled a lot more smoothly if we had clarity from the province.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Salmon Arm business pays it forward with Christmas tree

Food, clothing and hygiene products hang from downtown decoration

Salmon Arm vigil for murdered women includes a call for action

30 years after massacre of 14 female engineering students, violence against women continues

Canoe Forest Products takes extra break over Christmas to cut costs

Prediction for future of plywood plant looks positive, says general manager

User fees in Sunnybrae, Sorrento and six more water systems going up

Increases attributed to added regulatory requirements for water treatment

Registration underway for Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

Annual cross-country ski race has raised more than $400,000 for Heart and Stroke Foundation

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Letter: Process wrong for South Shuswap pot shop approval

Writer challenges fairness, accuracy of regional district’s online survey

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’

‘I could never have imagined anything like that happening,’ she said in a phone interview

B.C. patients wait 41% longer than national average to see a walk-in doctor: Medimap

The longest wait time was found in Sidney, B.C., where patients waited an average of 180 minutes

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Morning start: Did you know there is a Scottish tartan designed for Mars exploration?

Your morning start: Fun fact, weather, and video of the day

Trans-Canada closed east of Golden

An update will be provided at 8:30 a.m.

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

Most Read