Officer acquitted of sexual abuse charges
- Adds comment from lawyer, and union representative
A Winnipeg police officer has been acquitted on charges of sexually assaulting two boys.
Const. Kenneth Jack Anderson, 50, was found not guilty in a Winnipeg courtroom on Wednesday — nearly five years after the allegations were made.
The boys, who are now 14 and 15, claimed that Anderson touched them inappropriately during a sleepover at the officer's house in September 2006.
Anderson, at the time, was doing volunteer work with the boys and other at-risk First Nations kids.
Anderson's lawyer Hymie Weinstein said Wednesday that his client was found not guilty because the boys' stories were inconsistent.
Anderson's family were overjoyed by the verdict, Weinstein said.
"I can tell you after the decision was rendered today they were a lot of tears shed by his supporters who were there. A lot of hugs and tears," he said.
A witness also testified during the trial that the younger brother confided the story was fabricated.
Weinstein said Anderson is now clear to return to work as a police officer. He had been on leave since he was charged in August 2008 with two counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.
It's unclear when Anderson may be able to return to his job, something the Winnipeg Police Association says it's eager to see happen.
But while the constable may be vindicated in the eyes of the law, that's not always the case when it comes to public perception, Mike Sutherland, the WPA's president said.
"Just the allegations alone cause challenges and sometimes they're difficult to rebound from," Sutherland said.
The case was prosecuted by Robert Tapper, who was hired by the province to act as an independent Crown attorney.
Another case involving Tapper as prosecutor made headlines last week when two other Winnipeg officers were acquitted of perjury charges.
Tapper said he will not appeal the verdict in Anderson's case, saying there were no grounds to do so.