Woodstock, Ont., mayor Trevor Birtch faces sexual violence charges, council colleagues respond
The mayor of Woodstock, Ont., is facing three assault charges, including sexual assault and choking, against a woman who alleges she was abused over a period of a year.
Politicians in Woodstock, Ont., broke their silence Monday about serious sexual assault charges filed against Mayor Trevor Birtch.
“Under our system of justice, an accused receives the benefit of doubt unless and until convicted,” a statement emailed to media outlets said. It was attributed to Connie Lauder, Woodstock’s deputy mayor.
Birtch was arrested Feb. 2 in London, Ont., and made a brief court appearance the next day. Media were not notified of his arrest.
According to court documents, the charges against Birtch relate to incidents that took place between Feb. 14 and Dec. 13, 2021. They are:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual assault with choking
The same woman is named as the alleged victim in all three incidents.
Birtch, 46, has been the mayor of Woodstock for the past 8 years. Woodstock is about 45 km east of London. CBC News has reached out to Birtch for comment but has not had a response.
The Woodstock city council statement calls the charges against Birtch “alleged serious personal actions.”
“This is a matter for Mayor Birtch to respond to through the court proceedings,” the statement said. “There is no requirement under the Municipal Act for an accused elected official to step down from service. City services will continue without impact throughout this process.”
Birtch scheduled to appear in court May 2.
He is subject to a restraining order to stay 100 metres away from the alleged victim, as well as two other women.