bc summer games
The Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games took place between July 19 and 22. The alleged incidents of sexual assault occurred on July 21. (BC Games Society)

Police are investigating after dozens of girls were allegedly touched inappropriately during an event at the Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games in Cowichan Valley last week.

The games took place between July 19 and 22. The alleged incidents occurred during a dance for athletes at the Cowichan Exhibition Centre on the evening of July 21.

Several female athletes reported being touched inappropriately by some of the male athletes, according to North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP.

Police became aware of the allegations the following morning, and are working to confirm the events that took place, as well as the victims and alleged suspects.

Many of the allegations involve people under the age of 18.

“While we have initiated an investigation into these allegations, it is imperative that anyone who may have been a victim or witnessed the incident contact police so the matter can be thoroughly investigated,” said B.C. RCMP media relations officer S/Sgt. Annie Linteau.

In a statement released last Friday, the BC Games Society said it fully supports the investigation.

“Without question, the well-being of these young women is of paramount importance and we are continuing to gather information and communicate with the athletes and their families to support them,” the statement said. “We acknowledge the courage of these young women to report this incident.”

The organization said that “bad behaviour will not be tolerated,” and that everyone has a collective responsibility to ensure individuals are aware and act responsibly and respectfully.

Kelly Mann, president and CEO of the BC Games Society, told CBC News that they are in communication with the victims’ families to keep them aware of what the organization is doing.

“It’s important for us to take care of the steps that we need to do over these next several days, but more importantly make sure that this type of behaviour is clearly understood to not be acceptable, and that it won’t be tolerated,” he said.

Anyone who has any information about these allegations or may have been a victim, regardless of their place of residence, is asked to contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522.

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