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Woodstock, Ont., mayor seeks re-election while facing sexual assault charges | CBC News

The mayor of Woodstock, Ont., who is facing sexual assault charges involving two complainants, is seeking re-election in this fall’s municipal election.

Trevor Birtch, 47, filed his papers to run a third term for the city’s top job on Friday, merely hours before the 2 p.m. deadline for applications closed. Birtch has been mayor of the southwestern Ontario city, located about 45 kilometres east of London, for eight years.

Birtch was first charged in February with assault, one count of sexual assault, and one count of sexual assault with choking. That charge was later dropped and replaced with one count of sexual assault when the charges against Birtch were revised in a London court in May.

The same woman is named as the alleged victim in all three incidents. The charges stem from allegations made between Feb. 14 and Dec. 13, 2021. Birtch was subject to a restraining order to stay 100 metres away from the alleged victim, as well as two other women. 

Three new counts of sexual assault were additionally laid against Birtch in April involving a different woman. The charges date back to January 2017 and as recently as April this year. Police said Birtch and the alleged victim are known to each other.

The charges against Birtch have not been proven in court.

In an emailed statement to CBC London, Diane Harris, head of Domestic Abuse Services Oxford (DASO) said “it is dismissive to the needs of victims of sexual assault. This news is disturbing and challenging.”

Birtch, stepped down from his role as mayor on April 22, and was on paid leave while he awaited his next court date. 

CBC has reached out to Birtch for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

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