BANFF — A 38-year-old man who had been arrested and charged in the violent sexual assault of a woman in the mountain resort town of Banff, is to be released from custody.
RCMP say the charge against Allen Patrick Slade Viscount, of no fixed address, is to be withdrawn on Monday after investigators “uncovered evidence to suggest that this male is not responsible for the attack.”
However, they said he will remain in custody until he appears in court.
“We’re not at all hesitant about withdrawing this charge — our investigation is not done once we make an arrest,” said RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb.
Part of the new evidence stemmed from an interview with the man himself, said Webb, but he would not elaborate.
The woman in her 20s had been walking alone down a residential street at 2:30 a.m. on July 12 when she was jumped.
RCMP had said at the time that the woman fought back, leaving her attacker with scratches to his face. The assailant fled when a passerby intervened.
She was released from the hospital after remaining there for several days following the attack.
“She’s doing as well as can be expected but this was extremely traumatic,” said Webb, noting the release of the wrongly accused man “is a setback to her.”
Webb said an instance where RCMP arrest and charge a suspect in a major crime only to have the person’s name cleared shortly after is highly unusual.
“These circumstances are extremely rare,” he said.
“It’s not a win or a loss — it’s simply us doing a complete and thorough investigation.”
The Banff detachment raised the ire of the top-ranking Mountie in Southern Alberta when it took a full day to alert the public to the fact a sexual assault had taken place.
Insp John Cantafio said last week there was no good reason for the delay.
“We could have sent something out, at least people in Banff would have heard there had been a sex assault. … This guy was violent,” he said.
“It was a mistake. … We are very fortunate (there wasn’t) another attack.”
On Sunday, Webb issued another warning.
“The public is again advised that the perpetrator of this assault has not been apprehended and everyone, especially female individuals, should be taking precautions when walking outside at night,” he said in a news release.
“These should include walking with friends, being very aware of their surroundings at all times and avoiding areas which are unlit or isolated.”
The suspect is described as Caucasian, between 23 and 28 years of age, five-foot-seven, stocky build, with dark short, crew-cut style hair and receding hairline.