SURREY, B.C. - An RCMP investigation spanning British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan has resulted in the arrest of a former Mountie who's alleged to have sexually assaulted eight boys in the late 1970s and early '80s.

Police say Alan Davidson, 58, was arrested Thursday in Calgary, where he was living and working for Alberta's sheriff services.

He was charged with eight counts of indecent assault, a Criminal Code offence that dates back to before the crime of sexual assault was created.

RCMP Supt. Brendan Fitzpatrick told reporters Friday in Metro Vancouver that the alleged assaults happened in Clearwater, B.C., when Davidson was a coach, but before he joined the Mounties.

"At this time we have no information and are unaware of any alleged offences that may have occurred during his service as a police officer," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick said investigators have searched dozens of minors sports rosters in three different provinces to identify other possible victims.

Police said the allegations came to light when a Metro Vancouver man came forward in November 2012, saying he had been sexually assaulted by his minor hockey coach in the early 1980s.

The man told police it was possible that other players on the team had also been assaulted.

"Once we became aware of the allegations, our investigators immediately began a parallel review of Davidson's service and time with the RCMP from application through to retirement," Fitzpatrick said.

During the 16-month investigation eight males came forward with complaints, he said.

Most of the alleged victims either played hockey or baseball and said they were coached by Davidson, RCMP said.

"Considering the traumatic nature of the allegations, I would like to commend those individuals who came forward after all these years," Fitzpatrick said.

"It takes a great deal of courage for those individuals to speak out about their victimization."

Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, who was sexually abused by his minor-league hockey coach Graham James in the 1980s, told a news conference in Calgary following the RCMP announcement that it's very important for the alleged victims to get in touch with police.

"Many people are suffering when they don't come forward," he said. "I know because I was one of them."

Any other potential victims connected to the allegations against Davidson are asked to call police.

An old photo of Davidson taken in the late 1970's was also released during the news conference, to assist in "potentially triggering some memories," Fitzpatrick said.

Davidson began training as a Mountie in Regina in 1981 and worked in detachments in Saskatchewan and Lloydminster, Alta., from February 1982 until he retired in August 1996 to pursue other business ventures in Alberta, Fitzpatrick said.

When a reporter questioned the integrity of the screening process for RCMP officers, Fitzpatrick agreed the allegation was concerning, but said the selection of new members is now much stricter.

"The RCMP's recruiting and selection process has evolved tremendously over the course of the last 30 years to include a number of processes and reliability screening and tools so this type of thing is eliminated," he said.

Davidson is expected to appear in a Kamloops, B.C., court April 3.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said he worked in B.C. as a Mountie

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Bob Paulson

    RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has the job of cleaning up the Mounties' internal disciplinary process. Mounties have repeatedly written the commissioner saying they <a href="" target="_hplink">disapprove of the job he's doing</a>, drawing <a href="" target="_hplink">sharp rebukes</a> from the tough-talking commissioner.

  • Catherine Galliford

    RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford was once the public face of the Missing Women's Task Force. She <a href="" target="_hplink">filed a lawsuit against the RCMP</a>, alleging she was harassed, bullied and abused.

  • Giuliano Zaccardelli

    Former RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli <a href="" target="_hplink">resigned after admitting he gave incorrect testimony</a> to an inquiry looking into the Maher Arar affair.

  • Hugh Stewart

    RCMP Sgt. Maj. Hugh Stewart took on the nickname "Sergeant Pepper" for <a href="" target="_hplink">pepper-spraying protesters</a> at the 1997 APEC Summit at UBC. He became particularly famous after pepper-spraying a CBC cameraman.

  • InSite

    In 2008 the RCMP were accused of <a href="" target="_hplink">misusing public funds</a> to pay for studies aimed at undermining the legitimacy of InSite, a safe injection facility in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

  • Benjamin 'Monty' Robinson

    <a href="" target="_hplink">Benjamin "Monty" Robinson</a> resigned from the RCMP after a string of incidents including a conviction for obstruction of justice after he hit and killed a motorcyclist then went home and drank vodka to "calm his nerves." He still faces a <a href="" target="_hplink">perjury trial</a> for his role in the 2007 Taser incident that resulted in the death of Robert Dziekanski.

  • Robert Dziekanski

    Robert Dziekanski died after being Tasered by a group of RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport. A <a href="" target="_hplink">public inquiry</a> later determined that Mounties were not justified in using Tasers to subdue the Polish immigrant, who appeared erratic and nervous after 10 hours of waiting to be picked up from the airport. A <a href="" target="_hplink">perjury trial</a> concerning the officers involved is still pending.

  • William Elliott

    The first civilian commissioner of the RCMP from 2007 to 2011, Elliott's management style was criticized by senior officers who suggested he needed to anger management training. He <a href="" target="_hplink">resigned in February 2011</a>.

  • Highway Of Tears

    Meghan Rhoad (pictured here) of Human Rights Watch was lead researcher for a report that <a href="" target="_hplink">levelled blistering allegations against the RCMP</a> for its alleged treatment of indigenous women. The report alleged that RCMP officers raped and abused aboriginals in British Columbia.

  • Bullying Problem

    The <a href="" target="_hplink">RCMP has a bullying problem</a> that needs to be addressed by better training and record-keeping, said a report released by the force's watchdog group. The report released 718 harassment complaints filed between 2005 and 2011 and about <a href="" target="_hplink">90 per cent of the complaints involved bullying</a>, CBC reported.

  • Child Abuse

    <a href="" target="_hplink">An unidentified Ottawa RCMP officer</a> is facing multiple charges after a child abuse investigation. The 41-year-old man is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of assault with weapon, one count of aggravated sexual assault, one count of failing to provide the necessities of life and one count of forcible confinement.