Mountie accused of sexual assault takes stand at Kelowna trial | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Mountie accused of sexual assault takes stand at Kelowna trial

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Image Credit: Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca
February 17, 2021 - 4:30 PM

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A Kelowna Mountie denies he sexually assaulted his girlfriend while she was sunbathing in a bikini on his backyard deck.

Chad Vance, 50, gave a short answer Wednesday, Feb. 17, when asked in court by defence lawyer Trevor Martin if the alleged assault actually occurred.

"No, it did not," said Vance, a 20-year-member of the RCMP and a major crimes investigator.

Vance also said he had never had sex with the woman, his girlfriend of six months at the time the assault is alleged to have occurred in the summer of 2015, outside in the middle of the day, as she testified earlier this week.

He also denied ever trying to have anal sex with the woman, or ever continuing to have sex with her after she asked him to stop.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan RCMP officer's sexual assault trial gets underway

Vance described a loving long-distance romantic relationship between the pair in the first half of 2015, saying they often visited each other and enjoyed activities like having dinners out, taking nature walks and doing landscaping work around his home.

During one rendezvous in Osoyoos in early July 2015, Vance testified, the woman was overjoyed to see him after a few weeks of the couple being apart.

"She ran right to me and gave me the biggest hug. She was shaking and crying and telling me she loved me," Vance testified.

A few weeks before the alleged assault, Vance testified, the woman had suggested she move to Kelowna on a part-time basis, an idea he resisted. The woman's daughter was depressed and suicidal and had begun cutting herself, Vance testified.

"I told her I didn't think it was a good idea because she'd feel pretty horrible if something happened to her daughter and she was six, seven hours away," said Vance, who has two daughters.

After the assault is alleged to have taken place, the woman asked Vance to accompany her on a trip to San Diego. "I refused," Vance testified.

Vance testified the woman visited him in Kelowna once after the San Diego conference. They continued to remain in touch with one another, he said, but the next in-person meeting was not until October 2016, at a hotel in Salmon Arm.

They wished each other seasons greetings over Facebook at Christmas 2016, Vance testified. The following spring, he said, he noticed on Facebook that she seemed to be in a new relationship.

"I was just disappointed because I thought, no matter what, we'd be friends," Vance testified. He said he tried unsuccessfully to contact the woman.

"I said, 'I haven't done anything wrong to you. Why have you blocked me?'" Vance testified. "She didn't respond. That was the last communication I had with her."

On Aug. 5, 2015, the woman went to a health clinic in her town and said she'd been sexually assaulted about two weeks earlier. Athena Knibbs, the Interior Health employee who she spoke to that day, testified Wednesday via video-link.

"In my impression, she was in shock and disbelief that this had happened to her, that she had been overcome, and that she wasn't strong enough to get him off her, and she was quite upset about it," Knibbs testified.

However, the woman did not follow up with any counselling or other services, or seek medical treatment. She did not report the alleged assault to police until January 2019. Vance first learned of the accusation against him shortly afterwards.

Under cross-examination later Wednesday by Crown counsel Tim McKelvey, Vance testified he believed he and the woman had "drifted apart" after the summer of 2015.

The trial continues Thursday.

— This story was originally published in The Daily Courier.

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