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1 in custody after girl sexually assaulted at Edmonton rec centre


A man has turned himself into police in connection with the sexual assault of a child at an Edmonton recreation centre.

On Tuesday afternoon, police were called to the Terwillegar Recreation Centre after a 13-year-old girl reported she was followed into a stall in a family change room by a man and sexually assaulted.

On Wednesday, police released surveillance images of a person of interest in the case and an SUV in which he had reportedly arrived at the rec centre.

The Edmonton Police Service said a 20-year-old man turned himself in to police on Thursday morning.

His name will not be released until charges have been laid.

The girl and her family are receiving support following the assault.

Ward pihêsiwin Coun. Tim Cartmell, who represents the area, says he's heard from people who are concerned about increasing crime at the rec centre.

He told CTV News Edmonton he recently toured the facility with city administration to see what changes could be made.

"I think it’s going to mean more people present, whether those are staff members or security people.

"I think it’s going to mean more checks of those places that are not on cameras, places like change rooms," Cartmell said Thursday.

"I just think we are going to have to be much more diligent and much more careful."

Mary Jane James of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton says it's important for parents to talk to their children about safety in public places.

"This is an opportunity for all parents out there to have discussions with their children, their young children and their teenage children about public places and how to keep safe and to make sure that they know that their family is a safe place to come to," she told CTV News Edmonton.

She's also urging anyone who witnesses inappropriate behaviour to report it.

"When someone sets out to harm someone, they will find a way to do so regardless of what other things are in place.

"We just have to be conscious as parents and adults and community members that our children… in these spaces are safe, and it doesn't hurt us as bystanders to keep an eye out for potential dangerous, predatory behaviour." 

There were 17 reported sexual assaults at city rec centres last year.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Evan Kenny Top Stories

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