Edmonton Journal

Man, 27, faces sex-assault charges

Alleged incident occurred in pet shop


A 27-year-old man has been charged after he allegedly sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl in a west-end pet shop bathroom last weekend.

The girl was shopping with her mother at the pet store Saturday afternoon when the incident occurred, police said on Friday. The girl was away from her mother for several minutes before the man approached her and led her to the men’s washroom, where the assault allegedly took place, police said.

Police arrested a man a short distance away, within about an hour, after getting a descriptio­n of him from the complainan­t and other witnesses at the store. Police said the man was not an employee of the store.

“This alleged occurrence is particular­ly unusual and concerning as this sexual assault occurred with a stranger,” said acting Staff Sgt. David Jones with the Edmonton Police Service’s Child Protection Section. “Most cases of child abuse occur with an adult the child already knows.”

In 2014, child abuse investigat­ions conducted at the Zebra Child Protection Centre found 98 per cent of suspects were known to their victims.

Jones said the child is doing fine physically, but the incident could distress her as she ages.

Adrian Ballantyne has been charged with sexual interferen­ce, sexual assault and breach of probation.

Police have released Ballantyne’s photograph as investigat­ors believe there may be other alleged victims. Ballantyne has been known to travel in Alberta, Saskatchew­an and British Columbia.

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