A Red Deer teen faces charges in several alleged sexual assaults involving children in central Alberta between 2011 and 2015, in some cases while the victims were on trips with Scouts Canada and Cadets Canada.
RCMP say there were both male and female victims.
Police began investigating in May, when one of the victims filed a complaint. After an eight-week investigation, four more victims were identified.
The 17-year-old accused was involved with Scouts Canada between 2007 and 2012, and with Cadets Canada between 2011 and 2015, police said.
"That is a little bit on the younger side," said Glori Meldrum, founder of Little Warriors, an organization that deals with child sexual abuse.
"Was this 17-year-old sexually abused by someone else? That's the question I think we always forget to ask, which is where did they learn it?"
The teen, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces two counts of sexual assault with a weapon, five counts of sexual assault, sexual interference and committing an indecent act.
Police say they will not reveal the dates or locations of the offences, in order to protect the identity of the victims.
The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are taking the charges seriously, said Capt. Kimberley Caron, a spokesperson for the Canadian Cadet Organization.
She said the cadet in question has been suspended.
"Any time such allegations come forward it hurts, it's troubling," Caron said. "And we certainly do our very best to ensure that cadets are aware of their rights."
The RCMP is asking parents of children involved in Scouts or Cadets in central Alberta to speak to their children and notify police if they hear anything of concern.
The teen has been released into the custody of an adult under conditions ordered by a judge. He is scheduled to appear in Red Deer Provincial Court on Thursday.