Edmonton-area First Nation chief faces more sex-assault charges
Chief Kurt Burnstick accused of assaulting woman twice 31 years ago
The beleaguered chief of the Alexander First Nation northwest of Edmonton is facing more criminal charges.
CBC News has learned Kurt Burnstick is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on the reserve twice in 1985.
Burnstick will go to trial in January on one count of sexual assault. The charge stems from an attack that allegedly occurred in October 2015.
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Two days after Burnstick was charged in the 2015 case, the band sent out a media release announcing the charges, which police confirmed later that day.
At the time, the interim band spokesperson, Cheryl Savoie, said: "Our current leadership table is obviously taking this very seriously. It is obviously a serious situation that has to be dealt with."
Savoie said community leaders would hold an emergency political caucus, followed by community consultation, before making a decision on Burnstick's status as chief.
Burnstick stayed on as chief.
The following week, the band council imposed what it called "a complete and total media blackout for all forms of media on all Alexander First Nation Lands." Burnstick and four councillors signed the blackout notice, citing the negative impact of media broadcasts.
New sex-assault charges laid
Now Burnstick faces two new charges of sex assault and one count of break and enter with intent to commit that crime.
He allegedly assaulted a woman on the reserve twice in 1985.
A family member told CBC News the complainant came forward after hearing about the recent sex-assault charge.
Soon after the latest charges were laid, another notice went out to the media to serve as a reminder the media blackout imposed in March 2016 is still in effect.
The designated spokesman did not return a call from CBC News.
Burnstick remains free on bail. He will make his first court appearance on the most recently laid charges in Morinville on Oct. 18.
The Alexander First Nation is in Sturgeon County.