SMITHERS, B.C. — British Columbia’s Crown prosecution service says the former mayor of Burns Lake intends to plead guilty to charges he faces at a court appearance next month.

The prosecution service did not specify which charges Luke Strimbold plans to enter guilty pleas on, but it says in an emailed statement that his lawyer told a court earlier this week that Strimbold intended to enter guilty pleas at his next appearance on May 6 in Smithers.

Strimbold’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.

A special prosecutor approved 29 charges against Strimbold, including sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching, allegedly involving six people who were all under the age of 16 at the time of the alleged offences.

When he was elected as the mayor of Burns Lake in 2011, Strimbold was the youngest mayor in B.C. history at the age of 21.

He was re-elected in 2014, but resigned two years later, saying he wanted to further his education.

Strimbold served as membership chair for the B.C. Liberal Party but resigned in March 2018 both from the executive and as a member of the party.

He was originally charged in February 2018 and further charges were added in August.

Strimbold led the community through a deadly explosion at a sawmill in 2012 that killed two men and injured 19 others.

In 2013, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service. A year later, BCBusiness magazine named Strimbold one of the Top 30 leaders under the age of 30, recognizing his efforts to successfully rebuild the local economy.

Dan McLaughlin, the communications counsel for the prosecution service, said it would not release any further information about the case.

“As the matter remains before the court neither the special prosecutor nor the B.C. prosecution service will be commenting on these developments or releasing any further information regarding a potential resolution at this time,” he said in a reply to an email asking which charges Strimbold intends to plead guilty to.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press