Traditional healer at Wabano Centre facing sexual assault charges

Ottawa Police have laid three charges of sexual assault against a 57-year-old Ottawa man who served as a traditional healer at Ottawa’s Wabano Centre.

In a news release Monday, police said the investigation began May 2021 following allegations of sexual assault by three women.

It’s alleged the incidents happened in 2021 while the accused was working as a traditional Indigenous healer at the Wabano Centre, which offers health-care and other services from and to First Nations, Inuit and Métis residents.

Ralph King, 57, is set to make his first court appearance Monday.

In a statement the Wabano centre thanked the police for their work and said King was employed at the centre only briefly.

“Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health commends the investigation undertaken by Ottawa Police Services leading to today’s announcement to lay charges against Ralph King for three incidents of sexual assault during his very brief time at Wabano. Management cooperated with police during their investigation of Mr. King,” the statement said. “Wabano, through different programs and services, supports Indigenous people who have been victims of sexual violence and recognize the importance of respecting each person’s healing journey.”

Executive Director Allison Fisher also said King is banned from the premises.

“Once Wabano learned of these allegations, management took swift action to ban Mr. King from the Centre. In addition to providing the requisite support, we also respected the importance of each of the women to decide on how to proceed on their healing journey, including whether they wanted to contact the police in this matter,” said Fisher.

Investigators believe there may be other victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sexual Assault Child Abuse Section at 613-236-1222 ext. 5944 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Families needing support can contact the Victim Support Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 2223. 

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