Tyler Stephens
Tyler Stephens

Okanagan Sun want answers

by - Story: 42693

The Okanagan Sun say they were unaware one of their own had pled guilty to sexual assault.

Tyler Earl Stephens, 20, was arrested earlier this week and charged with nine counts of sexual assault and two counts of wearing a mask in the commission of an offence.

Stephens just completed his second season with the Sun.

Prior to the start of this past season, Stephens pled guilty to the sexual assault of a woman in the Costco parking lot early in the morning of July 16, 2007.

Stephens was given a 10 month suspended sentence. He served the sentence at home, under house arrest.

"The Okanagan Sun Football Club would like to make it clear that no one on the coaching staff or board of directors was informed formally or informally of the events that occurred July 16, 2007. The first the organization learned of the July 16, 2007 offense was upon reading it in the news Oct 24, 2008," says Sun President, Les Weiss.

"Some members of the organization had heard some rumors that Mr. Stephens had some contact with the authorities. We were led to believe the issues were regarding a fight Mr. Stephens was involved in over his girlfriend. In hindsight, we have asked the question of ourselves if it may have been prudent to confirm those facts. Plans are to develop just such a policy in this area for the future."

In his statement, Weiss says the Sun were never given any indication as to the nature of the offence Stephens was convicted of.

"The Okanagan Sun would like to make it clear that under no circumstances did the organization receive a hint of any sort that the offence Mr. Stephens pled guilty to was of the nature it was. Had the organization been made aware the charges were of a sexual nature, Mr. Stephens would have been dismissed from the club immediately."

Weiss questioned why the RCMP did not inform them.

"While we respect the burden the over-worked RCMP carries in the city, this matter warranted the club being informed. As not only volunteers of the Okanagan Sun, but as members of the community we ask why someone who committed such an offence was permitted to travel with a football team."

"At the end of the day, the most important thing is that our Kelowna streets are safe. The most important thing is that our mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters and daughters be safe."

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