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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Honks, sirens and thumbs-up at ‘Keep the RCMP in Surrey’ rally outside city hall

‘Many many Surreyites turned out supporting #keepthercmpinsurreybc,’ posted one protester

South Surrey car wash to help raise money for baby in need of $3M drug

Four-month-old Lucy Van Doormaal needs expensive treatment to fight rare genetic disorder

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Heritage rail to remain closed for both July and August

Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society may open Cloverdale Station in September

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Cold and wet weather has corn farmers waiting across the Fraser Valley

Usually the crop is ready July 5-12 but it’s still a few more days from perfection, says local farmer

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

Most Read