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Update: CESD responds as former Didsbury school teacher faces sex offence charges

In the event an alias was used, Didsbury RCMP distributed a photograph of Mountain View County man accused of sexual offences against a minor
MVT Harley Arthur Dickinson
Harley Arthur Dickinson, of Mountain View County, has been charged with sexual offences dating back to 2015. Photo courtesy of RCMP

Editor's note: This article has been updated from the original to include comment from Chinook's Edge School Division.

DIDSBURY - A 72-year-old man is facing sex offence charges after allegedly assaulting a Didsbury elementary school student in 2015, police said today.

At the time of the alleged offences, Harley Arthur Dickinson, a Mountain View County resident, was working as a teacher at the school which is in Chinook's Edge School Division (CESD).

He faces charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

“On Dec. 22, 2021, Didsbury RCMP received a report of a sexual assault that occurred in 2015 when the victim was attending elementary school in Didsbury,” RCMP Cpl. Gina Slaney said in a release issued March 16.

CESD superintendent Kurt Sacher provided the Albertan with the following statement: “We know this news is very unsettling for our entire school community. I cannot provide details on the alleged incident but I assure you, we are cooperating fully with RCMP in their investigation. 

“We are responding as a leadership to team to the serious allegations and we are working closely with school administrators to provide whatever additional support that may be required at the school.”

The division is “committed to respecting the legal process while focusing on our priority to provide safe learning environments for student learning,” he said.

Sacher confirmed that the accused is no longer working for CESD.

Cpl. Slaney also told the Albertan that Dickinson no longer works at the school.

Police have not given any information about the alleged victim other than that he or she was a child in 2015. There are two schools in Didsbury that serve elementary school-aged children.

Dickinson has been released on conditions, including that he not possess weapons and not be in a place that involves people under the age of 16.

He is scheduled to be in Didsbury provincial court on April 11.

The police investigation is ongoing, she said.

The RCMP is asking the public to come forward with any similar-type incidents.

"In the event an alias was used, the Didsbury RCMP are distributing a photograph of Dickinson," stated the press release.

The accused is described as having a light complexion, weighing 159 pounds and is five-foot, eight-inches tall.

“Didsbury RCMP are asking the public should they have any information that relates to this investigation to contact them at 403-335-3382 or Crimestoppers,” she said.