A longtime Winnipeg city councillor has been arrested and charged with a serious sexual assault.
Global News has learned Russ Wyatt was arrested Tuesday night and later released.
Wyatt has since denied the allegations.
Responding to a Global News request for comment by text late Wednesday, Wyatt said:
I have no comment to make regarding the allegation against me other than to say that I am innocent of any wrong-doing. I will defend myself in a court of law and will only respond further to the allegation in a court room.”
Const. Rob Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service confirmed the charge Wednesday.
“Russel George Wyatt has been charged with sexual assault and he has been released on a promise to appear.”
Police received a complaint Jan. 14 from a woman saying a sexual assault had taken place at Winnipeg residence. Police said the assault was not domestic in nature and did not happen at Wyatt’s Transcona home.
The months-long investigation included several interviews as well as the collection of forensic evidence. Results of those tests were returned this week.
“The delay in sexual assault charges is almost always based in getting lab results back. So forensic evidence is submitted and it takes a long time,” Carver said.
“We can’t move forward until we get those results back.”
Police confirmed the two knew one another but would not comment further.
Global News first learned of the allegations against Wyatt in January.
When reached by phone at that time, the Transcona city councillor refused to confirm or deny he was the subject of a police investigation.
“Have any charges been laid against you whatsover?” the reporter asked. “No, not at all,” he replied.
“Are any pending by chance?” the reporter asked. “I don’t know,” Wyatt replied.
“Were you at the police station yesterday (January 18)?” the reporter continued. “I can’t comment,” Wyatt said.
“Is there a police investigation against you currently,” asked the reporter. “I can’t comment again,” Wyatt said.
LISTEN: The audio recording of Russ Wyatt’s January phone call with Global reporter Timm Bruch
Shortly after that exchange, the veteran Transcona councillor took a leave from City Hall to enter rehab for 79 days.
He returned to council on May 24 and one month later he floated the idea he was considering running in the mayoral election.
Police said Wyatt cooperated with officers during his arrest.
Allegations against Russ Wyatt must be proven in court. He is presumed innocent.
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