Const. Jason Tress

Red Deer RCMP officer pleads not guilty to sex assault charges

Preliminary hearing set for next May for Const. Jason Tress

An RCMP constable charged with sexual assault after an investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has pleaded not guilty.

Const. Jason Tress has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of criminal breach of trust in relation to an incident that allegedly occurred in 2016. He has also been charged with one count of breach of trust in relation to a separate alleged incident and woman unrelated to the previous two counts, but which also occurred in 2016. He is also charged with one count of sexual assault in relation to a third woman, allegedly stemming from an unrelated incident that occurred in 2012.

Two of the incidents allegedly occurred while he was on duty.

On July 15th, 2016, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed by the Director of Law Enforcement to commence an investigation into a serious and sensitive allegation of sexual assault on a woman involving an RCMP officer.

As ASIRT was engaged in that investigation, ASIRT became aware of allegations in relation to two additional unrelated incidents and commenced additional investigations into the circumstances surrounding those incidents. Two of the three incidents occurred while the officer was engaged in the execution of his duties as a police officer.

Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., received the three completed investigations and upon reviewing them, determined there are reasonable grounds to believe criminal offences had been committed. The investigations were forwarded to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) for an opinion. After consultation with the ACPS and after careful review of the evidence, Hughson, Q.C. determined there was reasonable grounds to believe that the officer committed criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Last August Tress was suspended as a result of the initial allegations. He will remain off duty until the internal processes and all criminal charges against him are resolved.

Tress has elected to be tried in Red Deer’s Court of Queen’s Bench by judge alone. A preliminary hearing has been set for next May.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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