Police executed a search warrant Monday at the Montessori Educare Daycare, located at 7925 East Saanich Rd. in Saanichton. (Google Maps)

Police interviewing dozens of families over Central Saanich daycare allegations

No charges laid following arrest of Montessori daycare teacher

A male daycare teacher in his 30s arrested Monday remains free on conditions as Central Saanich police continue to investigate what they call unspecified “allegations of concern” against the individual involving his conduct with children in his care.

Central Saanich police arrested the man Monday morning before executing a search warrant at the Montessori Educare Daycare in the 7900-block of East Saanich Road in Central Saanich. They later released him Monday without laying any charges against him.

“The community is not at risk and until more information is gathered, we have released him with a court date later, if charges are laid,” said Chief Const. Les Sylven of Central Saanich Police Service.

When asked whether the “allegations of concern” against the individual were of a sexual nature or not, Sylven said police could not answer that question at this moment.

“We are not able to release that,” he said. “In our next update, we will be more specific. The most important thing that we need to do right now is to speak with any parents who have taken their children there.”

Sylven asked that anyone who has not spoken with police already contact Central Saanich Police Services.

Police have already spoken to “several dozen families” with interviews on-going.

“We are speaking to everyone, who has had a child in care there when that teacher was there,” he added.

RELATED: One man arrested stemming from allegations at Central Saanich daycare

It is not clear how far back the investigation will look. “I can’t give you an exact date right now, but that will be in the next update,” he said.

When asked whether the man had any prior record, Sylven said police are not in a position to share that information.

“At this point in the investigation, we have two main responsibilities,” he said. “The first one is to protect the community. At the same time, we also need to do that in a way that upholds the principle that people are innocent until found otherwise.”

Within this context, Sylven repeated an earlier request that parents and friends refrain from asking children any specific questions about their interactions with the male teacher.

“These are very complex investigations and the development of children at that young age requires specialized interviewing that doesn’t result in leading questions,” he said. “It goes against parental instincts, and we understand. We also need to make sure that we can serve the community in the best way we can and that is by making that request.”

Officers with special training have been conducting interviews since the investigation started and will continue to do so as necessary, said Sylven. “It’s difficult to put a time [on those interviews],” he said, adding that he expects this part of the investigation to last several days.

READ ALSO: Saanich nanny facing new charges of child pornography

“We will provide an update as soon as we are able,” he said. “We absolutely understand how upsetting these allegations are and our responsibility to communicate with the community as much as we are allowed to.”

The investigation itself started after police received information late last week with officers working on the case over the weekend before arresting the man and searching the facility for evidence.

Sylven said police did not search the residence of the teacher. “The evidence we gathered supported a search warrant at the facility and nowhere else.”

Sylven could not confirm if any electronic equipment was seized under the warrant.

Overall, Sylven expects a complex investigation.

“The sheer number of people who attended the Montessori Educare Daycare cause it to be complex, and the behaviours we are investigating, coupled with the age of the children who are there, also make it very complex,” he said. “I would underscore, it is very upsetting to hear allegations like this. We recognize this. Our responsibility as police is to protect the community and at the same time do it in a way that upholds the principle that someone is innocent until proven otherwise.”

The Peninsula News Review has reached out to daycare and the Vancouver Island Health Authority, which licenses the facility, for comment and will update this story as it becomes available.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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