A Grand Forks city councillor, who has announced his candidacy for mayor in the upcoming municipal election, has a history of sex offences involving youth, Black Press Media has learned.
According to a court documents, Everett Baker pleaded guilty in 1997 to two counts of indecent assault against males, and two counts of indecent assault against females.
The offences occurred between 1976 and 1983 in Vancouver.
Baker confirmed the charges during a phone interview with Black Press Media, as well as that the crimes involved a church youth group.
He was pardoned for the crimes in 2008, and provided copies of these documents; however, due to privacy reasons, the Parole Board of Canada would not confirm if he had been pardoned.
According to the board, pardons (now called record suspensions) are approved when someone convicted of a crime has completed their sentence and demonstrated that they are law-abiding citizens for a “prescribed number of years.” In such cases, the crime will not be considered by the courts if there are subsequent charges for other offences.
As well, a record suspension removes a criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database.
“This helps them access employment and educational opportunities and to reintegrate into society,” a statement from the Parole Board of Canada reads.
Baker, 63, announced his bid for mayor in January 2022.
At that time, he told the Grand Forks Gazette his primary concerns were infrastructure, flood mitigation and housing.
Baker ran for mayor in 2018, losing by just 56 votes to Mayor Brian Taylor, who has since said he will not be seeking re-election in the fall. Baker became a city councillor in a 2020 by-election.
He owns a funeral home in Grand Forks, and is president of the BC Liberal Riding Association for Boundary Similkameen and has been active politically at the provincial level for many years.
B.C.’s municipal elections are scheduled for October