UPDATE: Man in custody after 14-year-old girl attacked while walking near Duncan school

School district addressing safety concerns after incident near Cowichan Secondary’s Quamichan campus

A forty-year-old man is in custody after a sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl near her school in Duncan yesterday.

According to a media release issued by Duncan/North Cowichan RCMP, around 2 p.m., the student at Cowichan Secondary School’s Quamichan Campus was walking toward the school near York Road and James Street when she was confronted by an unknown man who then forced her into a nearby business and began to assault her.

“The girl broke free from her attacker, fled the area, and reported the incident immediately to school staff,” the release states. “RCMP were immediately notified and multiple officers and units were assigned and began to investigate. At about 5:30 p.m., North Cowichan/Duncan R.C.M.P. officers located and arrested a suspect in this case.”

A Duncan man remains in custody as the investigation continues.

Students frequently walk from the Quamichan Campus to the main campus on James Street. Supt. Rod Allen said the student who was assaulted was not doing so, but acknowledged this has raised concerns for staff.

“While the student was not travelling between campuses at the time of the incident, the school district is taking precautions to ensure the saftey of our students,” Allen said in an official statement from SD79 released before the arrest. “Effective immediately, buses will be available to shuttle our students between the two campuses until the assailant is found. We also continue to have extra supervision at lunch time, and the RCMP have agreed to increase their presence in the York Road area after school.”

Police say they are working closely with the family and school officials to make sure the girl and her family are getting any support they require after this traumatic incident.

“We understand incidents like this raise concerns, and we want to reinforce that student safety is our top priority,” Allen continued. “If parents or students have specific concerns, we ask that you please contact your school.”