BRITISH COLUMBIA

Canadian Forces Take Former B.C. Volunteer's Luring Charges 'Very Seriously'

03/07/2015 06:48 EST | Updated 05/07/2015 05:59 EDT
bill oxford via Getty Images
Person in handcuffs
VANCOUVER - The Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces say they take child luring charges against a former B.C. naval cadet program volunteer "very seriously."

Twenty-seven-year-old Victor Overfield of North Vancouver was arrested last December and has been charged with one count of child luring and one count of sexual touching.

Overfield volunteered with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in North Vancouver from 2007 to 2012 and with the Navy League Cadets in Vancouver from 2012 until his arrest.

The Royal Canadian Sea Cadets is a national youth program administered by the armed forces and funded by the Department of National Defence.

A spokesman for the national defence department says cadets' safety is the organization's "first priority," and all volunteers are screened every five years, including through a police records check.

Maj. Doug Keirstead says sexual harassment and abuse are not tolerated and any allegations are immediately investigated by authorities and followed up with appropriate action.

Meantime, a spokesman for the Navy League Cadets says Overfield was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation and directed to refrain from contacting cadets.

Andrew Warden says volunteers are screened carefully and all cadets receive training to recognize and report harassment and abuse. He adds a policy is in place to prevent one-on-one contact between volunteers and cadets.

"The Navy League continues to be vigilant and to protect the youth in our program," he says in an emailed statement.

"Whenever any suspect behaviour is noticed, it is immediately reported to the appropriate authorities and every effort is made to safeguard those participating in our program."

Court documents indicate the charges relate to an incident alleged to have occurred on Nov. 1 of last year in Surrey, located southeast of Vancouver.

Overfield has been released from custody on conditions including no contact with his victim and any other young people, RCMP have said.

They said several other unspecified conditions intended to ensure the safety of the public were also in place.

The allegations against Overfield have not been tested in court.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

How To Recognize Child Abuse