News in brief, June 21

A Whitehorse Mountie faces sexual assault charges, Yukon gets new child care funding

Whitehorse RCMP officer in sexual assault case makes first court appearance

A Whitehorse RCMP officer charged with sexual assault after allegedly touching a female RCMP employee without consent made his first appearance in court on June 14.

The officer, Stephen Hans Knaack, was charged May 25 after an internal investigation and review by the RCMP. The alleged assault took place Jan. 4 at RCMP headquarters in Whitehorse.

Knaack, an officer with 17 years of experience with the RCMP, was suspended with pay in February.

He is being prosecuted by an independent Crown counsel appointed by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to avoid a conflict of interest.

(Sharon Nadeem)

Police looking for witnesses after Whitehorse hit and run

The Whitehorse RCMP is looking for witnesses after a five-year-old boy was hit by a truck in Riverdale June 17.

According to a police press release, officers were called around 12:20 p.m. after a child had been struck by a truck in front of 20 Teslin Road in Whitehorse. Police did not release the gender of the child.

The truck left the scene and was last seen heading south on Teslin Road toward the roundabout, then proceeding towards downtown on Alsek Road.

The child was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

“The truck is believed to be a large double cab white truck, possibly a Dodge or Ford, built in the mid 2000s with scratches on it,” the press release says.

“The driver is believed to have been male.”

Anyone with information is being asked to call Whitehorse RCMP at (867) 667-5555.

(Ashley Joannou)

Yukon slated to get extra federal cash for child care

The Yukon is set to get more than $2 million a year in extra federal money for child care and early learning.

Earlier this month Yukon Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost was among most of the country’s health ministers to sign an early learning and child care framework with Ottawa.

The federal government has agreed to spend $7.5 billion over 11 years for child care across the country.

“Any new money is great. It’s great news for the Yukon,” Frost said.

Yukon’s share, at least for the next three years, works out to about $2.4 million per year, Frost told the legislative assembly.

Each jurisdiction will have to sign individual deals with Ottawa laying out how they plan to spend the money. Frost said she expects that to happen in the next three months.

It’s too soon to say exactly how Yukon will spend the new cash, Frost said. The framework says the money has to be used for new programs or projects that focus on childcare or early childhood development. It can’t displace other government money.

Frost said the government needs to work with First Nations, the private sector and NGOs including the Child Development Centre.

“It’s important we take into consideration all of the pressures, not just designing child care centres.”

Meanwhile Canada’s First Nations are simultaneously working on a second deal with Ottawa that will focus specifically on Indigenous children.

“That’s relevant because as we go ahead in the Yukon and we design our strategy here we really need to take into consideration our partners,” Frost said.

That deal is still in the early stages. Ottawa is conducting online consultations until July 21.

(Ashley Joannou)

Shots fired into Whitehorse home

Police are investigating after shots were fired into a Whitehorse home June 18.

Whitehorse RCMP say they will continue to look into what happened even though the victims in this case aren’t co-operating.

Residents in the area called police around 5:30 a.m. to report possible gunshots fired on Finch Crescent.

Multiple shots were fired into the home, RCMP said in press release. For now officers aren’t saying how many bullets hit the house or whether any of them made it through the walls.

“Because it’s an ongoing investigation, I can’t go into any detail right now. Releasing details on bullets, location, etc. could impact the investigation,” spokesperson Coralee Reid said in an email.

According to police, the occupants of the home were located in the backyard of the residence, and fled the scene.

Police forced entry into the residence to ensure no one was hurt. No injuries were reported.

“Although the victims are not cooperating with our investigators, Whitehorse RCMP continues to investigate this incident,” Insp. Archie Thompson said in the release.

Anyone with information can contact Whitehorse RCMP at (867) 667-5555. Anonymous tips can also be given to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.crimestoppersyukon.ca.

(Ashley Joannou)

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