Two former Mi’kmaw politicians are now facing sexual assault allegations, including a past regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
In December, RCMP charged Morley Googoo, former regional AFN chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, with sexual assault.
The 52-year-old is alleged to have committed the offence in March 2013 in his home community of We’koqma’q, N.S., according to court documents.
Googoo responded Tuesday afternoon to what he called “unfounded allegations” in an emailed statement to CBC Cape Breton.
“This lateral violence and repeated misrepresentation of my character has cost me greatly and has impacted my family deeply,” he wrote.
Googoo thanked his supporters, saying his work and personal life have always focused on helping his people.
He resigned as We’koqma’q chief in 2011 in order to serve as one of AFN’s leaders.
He was in the midst of his third consecutive term as a regional chief when harassment allegations against him began to surface.
An investigation launched by AFN in 2019 gathered evidence suggesting Googoo used his influence along with death threats and other forms of intimidation to keep women from contacting police with allegations of sexual assault against him.
Those allegations led to Googoo’s suspension and subsequent removal as regional chief in October 2019, but they were never proven in court.
Former band councillor charged
It is not clear whether the December charge against Googoo is connected to the report’s findings. Googoo is expected to appear in a Wagmatcook courtroom on Feb. 3.
Another former First Nation politician is facing similar charges. In December, police charged a longstanding We’koqma’q band councillor, Cyrus Bernard, also 52.
Bernard is charged with three counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual interference. The charges relate to one person under 16.
The offences are alleged to have occurred between 2014 and 2015.
Bernard was first elected to We’koqma’q council in 2006, and re-elected in October.
He has since resigned from that position, and is due back in court on Wednesday.