A veteran Winnipeg police officer was formally charged by Manitoba RCMP Tuesday with two counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

Kenneth Jack Anderson, 47, who also worked for a government child welfare agency, was suspended after allegations surfaced in the spring that he sexually assaulted two 11-year-old boys.

Kenneth Jack Anderson, 47, was formally charged by Manitoba RCMP Tuesday with two counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

Anderson has been a member of the city's police force for about 17 years.

In the spring, Anderson was "briefly employed" by Manitoba Child and Family Services, police said.

A spokeswoman for the child welfare agency said Anderson was placed on unpaid leave.

Citing privacy laws, she would not elaborate on Anderson's role with the agency or say how long he worked there. She also refused to comment on whether the allegations involve clients of Child and Family Services.

Manitoba RCMP Sgt. Line Karpish said she had no details about Anderson's employment with family services.

Charges date back to 2006

The offences Anderson is charged with are alleged to have occurred in September 2006, when both complainants were 11, Karpish said, but she would not discuss the nature of the incidents.

RCMP were made aware of the allegations in the spring by the city police force, said Karpish.

"There were indications that this happened in our [jurisdiction]," she said.

Anderson received a Certificate of Distinction for the Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award in 2003. At the time, he led the Aboriginal Cultural Program for Boys in Winnipeg, which helps "troubled boys," according to a Department of Justice release.

"Anderson plays an active role in the project by participating in activities and acting as a positive role model for the youths," according to the release.

Officer on administrative leave

Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said Anderson was placed on administrative leave near the start of the investigation.

"His employment status is under review," said Michalyshen. But he was uncertain if Anderson is getting paid by the force while on leave.

Manitoba Justice has hired Robert Tapper, a Winnipeg defence lawyer, to act as a special prosecutor on the case. It's department policy to avoid using its own Crown attorneys for cases involving police officers.

Tapper declined to discuss details of the case.

"It's just too premature," he said. "I need to review the file in detail."

Anderson is due to appear in court Oct. 20 in Teulon, a town about 60 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

He was released from police custody after promising not to have any contact with the complainants or any unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18.

With files from the Canadian Press