City of Wetaskiwin councillor resigned, then charged with sexual assault

Mayoral candidate pulls from running

Former City of Wetaskiwin council member and once-hopeful 2017 mayoral candidate Joe Branco has been charged with sexual assault.

A not guilty plea was given by Branco’s lawyer on his behalf during the first court appearance. The matter will be back before the court on Sept. 29 for a preliminary hearing.

Court documents state Branco was charged with sexual assault on May 25, 2017, for an alleged offence on or between July 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014.

It was not until July 20, 2017 — almost two months after the charges were filed — that Branco resigned from city council for unrelated reasons.

Following his resignation Branco still harboured plans to run for mayor of the City of Wetaskiwin in the upcoming election. However, that is no longer the case.

Council colleagues and city staff were unaware of the charges while Branco sat on council, explained City of Wetaskiwin mayor Bill Elliot.

In a brief interview with the Pipestone Flyer on July 20, Elliot had no comments as to why Branco resigned, “He tendered his resignation … I have nothing else to say, sorry.”

At a later date Elliot said the reason Branco quite stemmed from a breach of confidentiality.

“We did not know while he was serving on council that there were any charges against him,” Elliot told CBC News Wednesday. “He’s believed to be innocent until proven guilty but I think in a leadership role at least we should have been advised that there was something going on. I don’t feel we should have been kept in the dark and been surprised.”

Just Posted

Mulhurst Daze coming up at Pigeon Lake Aug. 4

Parade, show and shine, market and more at Mulhurst Bay

Questions before borrowing for the farm

Every farmer has a different tolerance for debt

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate theft of almost $140,000 value in Millet

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to past break and enter at a rural Wetaskiwin property

Writer says ‘New Debt Party’ needs to come back to reality

New pipeline projects doomed to failure if government involved

Wetaskiwin man facing charges after allegedly impersonating war veteran

Wetaskiwin RCMP lay charges for unlawful use of military uniforms/certificates

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Police to provide update on case against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

McArthur worked as a landscaper, allegedly concealed the remains of seven men in planters

Premiers to wrap up 2 days of meetings at New Brunswick seaside resort

Meetings held in the scenic seaside town of St. Andrews on Thursday focused on trade

Trump slams Federal Reserve rate hikes

Fed raised benchmark rate for a second time this year in June, and projects two more hikes to come

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

WATCH: Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta hosts Barnyard Breakfast

FortisAlberta makes $10,000 donation to House operations

UPDATED: Airdrie man charged after Taser-like weapons seized

Canadian Border and Airdrie RCMP charged a man after an attempt to bring the weapons into Canada

Innisfail RCMP charge woman in connection with seizure of eight dogs

Karin Adams, 46, of no fixed address faces dozen charges

Most Read