Halifax business owner and non-profit co-founder faces charges on three sexual offenses

·2 min read
Police arrested and charged Ryan Andrew Rutledge on Tuesday and later granted him conditional release. (Dave Laughlin/CBC - image credit)
Police arrested and charged Ryan Andrew Rutledge on Tuesday and later granted him conditional release. (Dave Laughlin/CBC - image credit)

A Halifax-based business owner and non-profit co-founder is facing one charge of sexual assault and two other sexual offences.

Ryan Andrew Rutledge, 28, has been charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.

The charges relate to a youth and allegedly took place in Cole Harbour.

Police arrested and charged Rutledge on Tuesday and later granted him conditional release. In a Wednesday news release, police said their investigation began May 30 after receiving a complaint.

Rutledge co-founded the non-profit organization Community Connextions Network Nova Scotia which offers programs for children, youth, families including after-school care and summer camps.

Part of Rutledge's role was leading a group of about a dozen staff providing children's recreational programs.

"Like so many, we feel frustration, turmoil, and grief. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, he is no longer involved with Connexions in any way," Marisa DeMarco, director of Connextions said via email.

"I can confirm that to date, there are no police investigations being undertaken related directly to Connexions. I have been and will continue to be in regular communication with the parents of children registered in our programs."

Rutledge and DeMarco also co-own Party On People, a business in Dartmouth that hosts dance parties and games like laser tag. But DeMarco says Rutledge has not actively participated in the business since 2019.

DeMarco says she is currently in the process of legally removing him from all business affiliations with Party On People.

Until recently, Rutledge was also a non-teaching employee at Colonel John Stuart Elementary in Dartmouth.

Deborah Waines-Bauer, a spokesperson for Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE), says the school has notified families that an employee has been placed on leave while an investigation takes place.

"These charges are deeply troubling and I can assure you that HRCE takes these matters very seriously," Waines-Bauer told CBC via email.

"It is our practice to ensure we take all appropriate steps, including cooperation with police as necessary, when allegations are brought to our attention. We are committed to the safety and well-being of our students."

Rutledge is scheduled to appear in Dartmouth Provincial Court on July 26.

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