By JENNIFER ZIELINSKI
A Kelowna man is being charged with several sex-related offences and police are concerned there might be more victims who have yet to come forward.
An investigation into Simon Walter Rypiak started in September 2015 and spanned across multiple jurisdictions, including B.C., Alberta and Quebec.
To date there are nine victims who have been identified to police, and RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in finding further victims.
Const. Jesse O’Donaghey says the investigation has revealed that the victims range in age from 15 to 20 years old, most of whom were believed to be recruited online through social media platforms.
“Investigators also believe that the accused used physical violence to maintain control of his victims, whom he forced to work as escorts for him,” said O’Donaghey. “The RCMP are concerned that there are more victims who have not yet come forward to police.”
Rypiak, also known as Simon Ross, faces multiple charges, including procuring a person to have sexual intercourse, material benefit from sexual services, assault, sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and procuring a person under 18 years old to have sexual intercourse.
Anyone who may have been victimized, solicited, or has any information that may assist in the RCMP investigation, is asked to contact Const. Greg Willcocks of the Kelowna RCMP General Investigations Section (GIS) at 250-470-6317.