A 47-year-old View Royal man faces possible sexual assault charges for allegedly molesting young boys in the swimming pool at Esquimalt Recreation Centre.
Police said a parent notified the centre's staff late Wednesday that their son had been touched inappropriately in the pool earlier that day. A second boy is also alleged to have been assaulted, police said.
The centre called Victoria police and put their staff on high alert.
"They didn't know who they were looking for," Insp. Keith Lindner said. "They had a vague description from a child, as you can appreciate."
Just after 1 p.m. Thursday, the centre's front counter staff noticed a man who seemed to match the description.
"Staff put more people on the pool deck and they observed what they thought was a criminal act," Lindner said.
The incident again involved a young boy.
Staff directed the man to get out of the pool, called police and he was arrested.
Lindner declined to release the age of the three boys or any details of the incidents. "The Special Victims' Unit will look at it and they'll decide the most appropriate charge to send to Crown."
The boys did not require medical treatment, but the families were offered help from the police victim services unit, Lindner said. "My understanding is they are doing OK."
Scott Hartman, director of Esquimalt Parks and Recreation Services, said it's a sad reality that staff have to be constantly vigilant.
"We're always on the lookout unfortunately," he said. "It's the industry.
We're always looking out for inappropriate activities within rec centres and the swimming pool.
"As soon as we received the report, staff were being extra diligent today."
Asked why the rec centre did not detain the man before he entered the pool Thursday, Lindner said staff were unsure whether he was the suspect and did not have any grounds to hold someone based on a vague description from a child.
Lindner said rec centre staff did everything they could. "I'm actually very impressed by their response."
He also praised the young boy who did the right thing by disclosing the first incident to a parent, and the parent for promptly alerting authorities. "I would commend all the parties involved."
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