The Nanaimo Pride Society has initiated an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and related misconduct against a board member.
Faran Berg, president of Nanaimo Pride Society, tells CHEK News the allegations were brought to the board’s attention in 2021.
“Members of the community brought forth multiple separate allegations in the spring and summer 2021,” Berg said. “The actions that this board has taken after receiving these complaints, for the view of transparency and community safety, and to gain access to documents in an ethical way that would [corroborate] these allegations.”
The members who were aware of the allegations were voted onto the board at the Annual General Meeting in 2021, and they began the process of going through the documentation, reaching out to lawyers and updating the safety policy.
Berg says due to the pandemic, the investigation has moved slower than the board hoped.
“It is the utmost importance however, that we get this right,” they said.
The board hired private investigator David Juteau at Pearlman Lindholm Barristers and Solicitors to conduct the investigation.
“The board felt that an internal board-run investigation would lack the required transparency and objectivity that this process needed and any alleged victims deserve,” Berg said.
“Nanaimo’s 2SLGBTQ community may be small, but it has strong roots, and the board recognized that we needed to remove ourselves to ensure zero conflict of interest or appearance of such. Our primary goal was and still remains to provide our community of marginalized people with the support and safety that we all and they all need, and deserve.”
Berg says the Nanaimo Pride Society was formed five years ago, and it is possible the allegations go as far back as about since the board was developed.
While they would not confirm if the allegations are against one or multiple people, Berg said the person or people who the allegations are against have been removed from the board.
The investigation currently has a deadline of Nov. 30, but Berg says the deadline may be extended if required.
“Depending on the community, because I come from a trauma-informed experience, and it takes time for people to find the courage to step forward,” Berg said.
“So I generally don’t like timelines for this kind of thing as a Two Spirit Indigenous. There’s a colonial process to it, and I will follow those colonial rules to a tee.”
Anyone with concerns or information about the allegations is invited to reach out to Juteau at [email protected].
“There’s still a legal process ongoing, we cannot provide any details on the situation,” Berg said. “As soon as the board is made aware of findings, the membership will be informed. And when appropriate, the broader community until the due process is resolved.”
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