October 17, 2016 - 12:57 PM
SYDNEY, N.S. - A man who performs as "Klutzy" the clown in Cape Breton has been charged with sexual assault, sexual exploitation and sexual interference.
Cape Breton Regional Police say the charges were laid against 51-year-old Dale Rancourt of Gabarus after he was arrested on Sunday.
According to his Facebook page, Rancourt has been performing as "Klutzy" the clown in Cape Breton for many years at birthday parties and other children's events, as well as a variety of charitable fundraising events.
Earlier this year, Rancourt told the Cape Breton Post that he was raising money for children affected by the wildfires in Fort McMurray.
The newspaper reported he'd been performing as a clown in the area for the past 21 years. Earlier this month, Rancourt told CTV Atlantic he was worried that the rash of "creepy clown" incidents across North America was giving clowns a bad name.
The performer is facing one charge of sexual exploitation, one charge of sexual assault and two charges of sexual interference, and is scheduled to appear in Sydney provincial court on Monday afternoon.
A police spokeswoman declined to provide further details.
Miles Leahy, a Nova Scotia clown who said he has known Rancourt for over a decade, expressed surprise about the arrest and charges.
"This is not the fellow I know. ... I'd want to talk to him before I'd say anything. That he's in this situation is surprising and shocking to me," said Leahy in a telephone interview.
Leahy, the second vice president of Clowns Canada, said he will withhold judgment until he hears further details of the case.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016