Murray (second from left) with other members of council. (Facebook)

Murray (second from left) with other members of council. (Facebook)

B.C. city councillor resigns after sexual assault conviction

David Murray resigned following a loud public outcry

Dave Murray, convicted last week of sexual assault, has resigned from Pitt Meadows council.

Mayor John Becker made the announcement on his Facebook page.

“As promised, I am writing to report that today I met with David Murray and obtained his resignation from city council. There are matters that are required to be addressed by council in a closed meeting. I will be tasking staff to organize a special closed meeting for Monday, Oct. 30,” Becker said.

“I am not going to be releasing any more information on this matter until presenting my report to City Council for direction.”

On Wednesday, after three days in court, Murray was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 13 or 14-year-old girl who, worked for him in 1992.

Shortly after his conviction, Murray wasn’t sure if he would resign from council.

There is nothing in the Community Charter, which governs municipal politicians, to compel Murray to step down. He remained on council despite the sexual assault charge since November 2016.

Murray’s next appearance in court will be Jan. 10, when a date will be set for a sentencing hearing. That would likely follow in March.

Then, Murray noted, he will have 30 days to appeal the decision.

His attorney has advised him not to say anything more, he said.

“I wasn’t expecting this to go this way,” he said earlier this week. “I’m a Christian person, and God knows I haven’t done anything. “

Coun. Bill Dingwall immediately called for Murray should step down.

“It’s about the reputation of the city and public confidence,” Dingwall said.

In a previous Facebook post, Becker wrote: “Council operates under rule of law and due process. Unlike individual members of council, when the Mayor speaks it is on behalf of council as a whole and the entire community. When someone moves from councillor to Mayor their voice carries much greater weight, but with that comes much greater responsibility to act only with legislative authority or pursuant and authorizing resolution of council. In this situation I have neither, but have satisfied myself that my position in fact reflects the will of council and properly reflects the will of the community.”

A petition started online also calling for Murray to resign. It had more than 1,000 signatures as of Sunday.

Murray was first charged on Nov. 16, 2016 with one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference with a person under the age of 14 in relation to incident back in 1992.

He pleaded not guilty and elected a trial by provincial judge.

Murray remained on council, to which he was first elected in 2011, and attended regular meetings, as well as community events.

A former employee of Murray testified at the start of his trial Monday that he sexually assaulted her at their workplace in 1992.

The woman, whose identity is covered by a publication ban, told the court she began working for Murray that summer and that the two initially had a friendly relationship.

His behaviour eventually turned “inappropriate” as he bought her expensive clothing and took her out for dinners, including one at a revolving restaurant.

“I remember he bought me really expensive jeans … that I really liked but couldn’t afford,” she said in court, adding that her mother and stepfather, with whom she lived at the time, were “concerned” about the relationship.

“I knew he liked me, he was flirtatious with me,” the complainant said. “But I liked it and I didn’t want it to stop.”

One day in late summer or early fall of 1992, Murray asked her to come into work early.

When she arrived, she said the workplace was still closed and Murray was the only person there.

The complainant broke down in the courtroom, her voice shaky and her eyes teary as she described the alleged assault. She said she was lying down, and that Murray was kneeling beside her as moved his hands up her leg, under her shorts, and touched her genitals.

The complainant could not remember how long the alleged assault lasted, but said that when it was done, Murray walked away to a different part of the workplace.

She finished her shift and never came back to work. She did not see Murray again until she moved to Pitt Meadows as an adult.

The complainant’s voice shook as she described seeing Murray’s name everywhere, especially as a campaign for the 2014 local elections began.

She decided to report Murray to the RCMP in 2015, following a public city meeting where she saw him in person.

Murray, secretary-treasurer of the CUPE Fraser Valley District Labour Council, was originally charged with sexual assault and sexual interference of a person under the age of 14.

But Crown counsel asked for the second charge to be stayed, citing an inability to confirm whether the complainant was 13 or 14 at the time of the alleged assault.

On the second day of the trial, Murray denied that he had taken advantage of the complainant’s trust.

He repeatedly denied that he called her in early one morning, asked to practice a massage on her, and then rubbed his hands up her legs and into her genitals.

Murray acknowledged that the complainant was attractive, but said she was by far not the only youth to confide in him.

The councillor told the court that he hired the complainant, and her coworker, for a three-day auction in September 1992.

Murray said he assumed both were around 17. He said he learned after the auction they were both actually 14, and that he never questioned their age, despite visits he called “disconcerting” from both girls’ parents.

Murray told the court he had hired two seemingly random girls, whose ages he did not even know, to work at what he had said was a high-priced auction with items worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Murray said news coverage of the auction leading up to it had made him “panic” when he realized he didn’t have anyone to help him.

As a result, he approached two girls who had been hanging around the store with some boys.

“You wanted girls to help you for the auction … because your customers were male,”Crown counsel Wendy Wakabayashi asked.

“Yes,” Murray replied.

The maximum sentence for sexual assault is 10 years in prison, and there is no minimum sentence.

 

Dave Murray (far right) with other members of council, Katzie chief Susan Miller, MP Dan Ruimy and former MLA and city councillor Doug Bing. (Facebook)

Dave Murray (far right) with other members of council, Katzie chief Susan Miller, MP Dan Ruimy and former MLA and city councillor Doug Bing. (Facebook)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Crews are battling a fire near Ashcroft. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Crews battling grass fire above CP tracks near Ashcroft

Fire started around 9:30 a.m. and is moving through sagebrush away from town

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

The Cariboo Regional District. (Angie Mindus photo)
Industrial park slated for Watch Lake Road

Building company Omnitek to start building new plant on 32-acre site

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

The province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory Tuesday

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Most Read