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Former Mormon church leader charged with sexual interference

A Raymond, Alberta man and former leader within the Mormon church has been arrested and is facing charges of sexual interference.

It all stemmed from allegations made by a woman in September of 2016. According to the RCMP, she had reported that when she was a child, she had been sexually abused by a man known to her.

Picture Butte RCMP began an immediate investigation, it was at that point three additional female victims came forward with similar reports of assault.

According to the Mounties, all of these incidents are believed to have occurred back in the eighties and nineties.

On Tuesday, 49-year-old Marvin Ross Harker was arrested and faces charges of sexual interference.

He’s been released on a recognizance with conditions that include no contact with persons under 18. He’ll appear in Lethbridge Provincial Court next on February 7.

Corporal Curtis Peters tells 660 NEWS historical investigations can present their own unique set of circumstances.

“Each one is different, each case that you have of these historical natures is going to have a different level of evidence provided to you whether it’s from witness accounts or victim accounts and in some cases we are able to track down physical evidence on these historical files, it does still happen,” said Peters. “Each one is different but they certainly have a unique set of challenges compared to something that’s much more recent.”

He’s asking anyone with information to come forward and contact their local law enforcement agency.

Peters says he’s unsure if the accused was in a person of trust at the time of the assaults.

660 NEWS has learned Harker was a church leader at the time in Raymond when the allegations surfaced.

Carlos Jansen was the former Stake President of the Raymond Stake when Harker was asked to serve and only recently learned of his arrest.

“It’s important to note the church has a strong position of no tolerance when it comes to abuse of any kind,” he told 660 NEWS. “Ross Harker is not currently a bishop in one of our local congregations nor was he at the time when the alleged incidents occurred in 1980. He had in July of 2016 been asked to serve as a bishop, a volunteer leader in a local congregation within our church and at that time the allegations were not known to us.”

Jansen says upon learning of the allegations, Harker was summarily released and asked to address the past events with the persons involved, in this case, his accusers.

He adds Harker only served as a local church leader for a few months.

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