Port Moody’s mayor says he is taking a leave of absence to clear his name after being charged with sexual assault.
Robert Vagramov says he plans to fight the charge in court, and preparing a legal defence will require his full attention, so he has decided to take a leave of absence starting Friday.
He says he has passed a polygraph test and provided the results to the authorities.
The charge is in connection to an incident alleged to have occurred in Coquitlam in 2015, while he was a city councillor.
Vagramov, 26, was one of the youngest leaders elected to serve Port Moody when he joined city council in 2014. He was elected mayor in October.
He made headlines in September 2018 after a profanity-laden video surfaced from 2014 showing him asking a homeless man to chug a beer for a sandwich.
He later said in a Facebook video that the video was “super cringey” to watch, adding he had been “fresh out of college” and his heart had been in the right place.
The BC Prosecution Service said Michael Klein was appointed as special prosecutor in the case last December. Such an appointment is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice.
Vagramov’s first appearance in provincial court in Port Coquitlam is scheduled for April 25.
– with files from The Canadian Press