Former Burns Lake mayor resigns from B.C. Liberal executive after multiple sex-related charges

The former mayor of Burns Lake, B.C., is facing multiple sex-related charges and is barred from playgrounds, schools and other places where people under the age of 18 are likely to be present.

Luke Everett Strimbold barred from spaces where people under the age of 18 are likely to be present

Luke Strimbold was mayor of Burns Lake from 2011 until he resigned in 2016. He was the youngest mayor in B.C. history and second-youngest in Canadian history. (Village of Burns Lake)

The former mayor of Burns Lake, B.C., has been charged with 24 counts of sex-related offences, including offences related to people under the age of 16.

Luke Everett Strimbold, 27, was arrested and released Feb. 3 with 11 conditions, including being banned from going to to any public park, swimming area, school, playground or any other place where people under the age of 18 are present or can reasonably be expected to be present.

The identities of the alleged victims are protected under a publication ban. The alleged incidents occurred between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30 2017.

Burns Lake RCMP say they are investigating the possibility that there are more victims who have not yet spoken to police.

Strimbold was first elected mayor of the Village of Burns Lake in 2011 at the age of 21. He was the youngest mayor ever elected in B.C. history, and second-youngest in Canada.

After successfully running for re-election in 2014 he stepped down suddenly in September 2016, citing a desire to focus on business and educational opportunities and spend time with family.

Strimbold was listed as the membership chair on the B.C. Liberal website before news of the charges were made public. He was removed from the page shortly afterwards.

He was also a member of the rules leadership committee in the party's recent race to replace Christy Clark.

Luke Strimbold, former mayor of Burns Lake, B.C., stands with former B.C. premier Christy Clark in this photo taken in February 2013 at a ceremony honouring Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal winners. (Province of B.C./Flickr)

In an email, the B.C. Liberals' communications manager, David Waysluk, said the party became aware of the charges on Friday, and that Strimbold had resigned from both the executive and as a member of the party.

Mary Teegee, executive director of Carrier Sekani Family Services, says the allegations are shocking.

Her organization — a First Nations health and social service society — has an office in Burns Lake.

"We are very, very devastated. Definitely our hearts are with the families, especially the victims right now," Teegee said.

"We're really just reaching out to the community right now to let them know that we are there, that we will get through this together."

Strimbold is facing eight counts of sexual assault, seven counts of sexual interference, five counts of invitation to sexual touching and four counts of sexual exploitation. None of the allegations has been proven in court. 

Strimbold's next court appearance is scheduled for April 6 in Burns Lake.

CBC has attempted to contact Strimbold, but has not had any reply.

About the Author

Andrew Kurjata

@akurjata

Andrew Kurjata is a radio producer and digital journalist in northern British Columbia, situated in the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh in Prince George.

With files from Meera Bains