VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A senior in Vancouver is charged with sexually assaulting four young boys back in the 1970s.
Investigators believe the assaults involved victims who were between the ages of 11 and 17 between 1971 and 1982.
The accused, 70-year-old Abraham ‘Abe’ Kiewiet, was working as a lifeguard with the Vancouver Park Board at the time. He also taught at the Vancouver Lifeguard School and volunteered as a coach at a YMCA aquatic safety program.
The four victims are now in their 40s and 50s.
VPD Sgt. Randy Fincham says since the case dates back so long they’re running into some problems.
“Currently, investigators are attempting to track Mr. Kiewiet’s work habits and history over the last 20 to 30 years. Without electronic record-keeping, that’s proving a little harder than normal,” he explains.
Kiewiet has been released from custody, as he’s not considered a threat to the public. He does have a list of conditions.
“To not be found in any public place where children under 18 years of age are present or reasonably expected to be. He’s not to seek or obtain or continue employment as a volunteer,” outlines Fincham.
Kiewiet has been charged with five counts of indecent assault and gross indecency.
“The charges are very troubling and our thoughts are with individuals who may have been harmed by the individual,” reads a statement from the park board.
“The Park Board currently has a comprehensive program of policies, practices and monitoring to protect the safety of children and at-risk persons participating in recreation programs. In addition, pre-employment criminal record checks are conducted for all individuals employed with the city in a position of trust or that work with children or vulnerable adults,” it adds.
Investigators think there may be more victims. If you have any information regarding these cases, you’re asked to call the VPD’s tip line at (604) 717-0618.
Charges trigger memories of another coach’s questionable behaviour
News of sex-related charges laid against the former aquatic safety coach for the Vancouver YMCA has people looking back at some of the questionable activities that took at the centre decades ago.
‘Byron’ is now recalling how his coach at the centre back in the 80s, who he won’t name, would have them swim nude.
“We were to swim without any clothes on. We were never to use our trunks, even though we had competition trunks,” he remembers.
“He had a thing called the dolphin ride. He would also be nude. We would hold onto his neck and swim to the bottom of the deep end.”
He and the other kids were only seven and eight years old.
He says he never mentioned it to an adult until he told his father much later, and was immediately taken out of swim lessons.
“The kids kind of laughed about it at the time. But it’s really not funny. It could potentially be a very serious, weird thing,” he says.
“It’s just as you get older you start thinking about it more and more and thinking that wasn’t right.”
Byron says he doesn’t intend to file a formal complaint against the coach, who he says also coached wrestling and gymnastics.