Darryl James Thompson, 47, will make his first appearance in court today (Aug. 10) after Victoria police arrested the View Royal man Thursday afternoon in response to reports that three children were inappropriately touched at Esquimalt Recreation Centre over two days.
After a pair of incidents were reported late Wednesday, pool staff identified a potential suspect Thursday (Aug. 9) based on a general description. Staff witnessed what they felt was an inappropriate act and called police. The man was removed from the pool area and was arrested around 2 p.m.
“Staff identified him, brought him out of the pool and contacted our people immediately,” said Insp. Keith Lindner of VicPD’s West Division, adding he was “impressed” with staff response. “When they knew he was in the building they called us.”
The Thursday incident followed a report Wednesday (Aug. 8) evening after two children told parents after the outing that they’d been inappropriately touched.
The suspicions by staff arose the night before after parents called the recreation centre after hours to report their child had been touched inappropriately in the leisure pool, said Lindner. A second child also reported being touched Wednesday.
Staff followed protocol under the circumstances, said Scott Hartman, Esquimalt director of parks and recreation services.
“We’re trained in observing these things. It’s unfortunate that it happens, but all of our staff are trained to respond accordingly around child protection,” he said. “Everyone, because of what happened last night … staff were extra diligent.”
Though the man was in custody Thursday, charges had not yet been sworn and police would not release his name. The special victims unit will look at the case and determine appropriate charge, Lindner said. The man was not known to police or on the Esquimalt recreation ‘watch list.’
Hartman said the suspect was not a rec centre member, but was a member of the Leisure Involvement For Everyone program, which provides discounted access to recreation facilities.
Police are not releasing ages of the three children or details of the incidents.
“If there are other victims we want to speak to them,” Lindner said. “When a kid has confidence in his or her mom or dad to go forward and say this is what happened, that’s huge … I commend all the parties involved.”