The head of the John Howard Society of Manitoba is on leave after being charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl, CBC News has learned.

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John Hutton, seen in this Novmber 2011 image, was appointed executive director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba in 2008. ((CBC))

Police have charged William John Hutton, 55, with sexual assault, sexual exploitation and sexual interference in connection with incidents that allegedly happened between December 2009 and January 2013 in the Rural Municipality of St. Fran├žois Xavier.

The alleged victim was under the age of 16 at the time, according to court documents.

Hutton's next court appearance is scheduled for May 29.

In 2008, Hutton was appointed executive director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba, which helps reintegrate male offenders into society after they are released from custody.

Acting executive director Kate Kehler told CBC News that Hutton has been on a paid leave of absence since March 2013, with the support of the board.

Kehler said Hutton is facing serious charges that do not relate to his work or the work of the society.