A former RCMP officer who is facing more than a dozen sexual assault charges in Calgary made a brief court appearance Wednesday morning.

Calgary police have charged 69-year-old Arnold James Somers with 14 offences, including sexual assault and sexual interference with a child under 14.

The incidents date back to 2006 and involve three boys.

Somers, who goes by Jim Somers, will be back in court Thursday.

Neighbours say they are shocked to learn about the charges.

They say several young families live along the northeast Calgary street where Somers lived.

"We have children of our own and we don't want people like that in our neighbourhood," said resident Patrick Savard.

Somers was a former weapons expert with the Saskatchewan RCMP — even testifying at the high profile Colin Thatcher murder trial.

But in the 1990s he  pleaded guilty to indecent exposure involving a 10-year-old boy and was later convicted of sexually assaulting three Yorkton-area brothers in the 1980s.

New investigation

He retired from the RCMP as a staff sergeant and served his sentence of two years less a day.

Calgary police say they began investigating new sexual abuse allegations late last year.

Police say Somers befriended the parents of his alleged victims, who had no idea about his past.

Somers was never on the countrywide sexual offender registry, which only became mandatory in 2011.

A Calgary criminologist says that usually only helps when strangers attack.

"In this case the victims were known to him, allegedly, so there's no reason for police to be searching that database," said Scharie Tavcer, an associate professor of Justice Studies at Mount Royal University. 

She said offenders look like normal people.

"The public is under the impression that there are strangers that are going to apprehend our child, that there are these boogie men and women out there," said Tavcer. 

"The majority of any type of crime — not just sex offending — [the] victim and offender know each other in some way."