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 shares in ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie success

Jim Carrey among actors in scenes filmed at Joe Brown Park in 2018

Cloverdale resident wants speeders bumped from his road

Lord Tweedsmuir teacher Walter van Halst says safety is number one concern

Surrey mom to plead guilty in U.S. college admissions scheme

According to charging documents, Xiaoning Sui paid $400,000 to a sham charity to have her son admitted at UCLA

Surrey councillor claims Fleetwood residents caught ‘off guard’ by corporate report

Council approved area plan boundary for Fleetwood that left many “scrambling” to understand, Pettigrew says

Elderly White Rock assault victim upgraded to stable condition

Incident occurred Feb. 19 in the city’s Five Corners district

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Abbotsford mosque gets online hate for exhibit on Jesus

Event meant to bring community together gets attacked teaching religous differences

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Most Read