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Ottawa Abuse Case: Child Allegedly Handcuffed In Basement; RCMP Officer, Wife Charged

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OTTAWA - An RCMP officer and his wife at the centre of an Ottawa child abuse investigation are to be back in court next week.

The couple, who cannot be identified, made separate court appearances Friday, and both were remanded in custody.

They face multiple assault and sex-related counts after being arrested earlier in the week at an Ottawa home.

With his head lowered and his hands clutching a sheaf of papers, the accused man said nothing as he stood in court Friday morning flanked by Ottawa police officers.

Tears appeared to well in his eyes as he occasionally glanced up at the judge.

The court reaffirmed a sweeping publication ban on the matter and the accused was ordered to have no contact with a list of people, whose names were not disclosed.

The man's wife appeared later by video conference. Wearing a grey sweatshirt, she was barely audible as she repeated her name to the court.

To protect the identity of the alleged victims, the names of the couple were not released.

Peter Azziz, lawyer for the accused man, said he believed the victims were in the care of the Children's Aid Society, although that could not be confirmed.

Azziz otherwise refused to comment on the case, citing the publication ban.

Police say the 41-year-old officer and 34-year-old wife are charged with several counts of aggravated assault, assault with weapon, aggravated sexual assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.

They won't say exactly how many children are involved, but say the case involves more than one alleged victim.

A police source says the investigation was launched after an 11-year-old child was discovered wandering in a residential neighbourhood.

And the source says it's believed handcuffs were used to keep the child in the basement of a house for months.

The couple were both scheduled to be in court Feb. 19, although it wasn't clear whether they would appear together.

The accused man has been on administrative leave from his job with the RCMP since May 2011, although a source with the RCMP said the man had not been to work for months prior to that.

He was suspended with pay Feb. 13, and the Mounties said they have launched an internal code of conduct investigation.

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