Winnipeg bus driver killed on the job was facing trial on sex charges

Bus driver killed on job faced sex charges

WINNIPEG — A bus driver who was stabbed to death on the job was facing charges of sexual assault dating back three decades and did not show up for jury selection on his original trial date last fall, court documents reveal.

Irvine Jubal Fraser, 58, was charged in 2015 with two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference between 1983 and 1991. The complainant, now an adult, says she was repeatedly molested, starting at age five.

Fraser was stabbed at the last stop of his shift in the very early hours of Tuesday morning. Police said he was trying to get a lone passenger off the bus and the passenger attacked him.

Brian Kyle Thomas, 22, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, possession of a weapon and breach of probation.

John Callahan, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, described Fraser earlier this week as a popular, friendly man who planned to retire next year.

The court documents show Fraser was involved in a lengthy court battle over the sex assault charges. That led to a warrant being issued for his arrest last October.

The complainant told Fraser’s preliminary hearing that over the years, he had “basically touched me and made me do things inappropriately from the time I was about five until twelve.”

Years would pass before the complainant told her story to an older woman. The older woman testified she confronted Fraser.

“He said … ‘I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt her.’ Now to me, that’s an admission of guilt,” she said.

Fraser denied any wrongdoing.

“The accused denies in any way engaging in sexual conduct with the complainant,” reads a pre-trial conference memorandum.

Jury selection was set to begin last Oct. 27, but Fraser did not show up and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He turned himself in a few days later. Following further court hearings, the trial was rescheduled for January of next year.

After his arrest last fall, Fraser was released on bail conditions that included not having any contact with the complainant. He was not barred from working with the public or being in contact with children.

Officials with the City of Winnipeg refused to say Thursday whether they knew about the charges. A spokesman would only say that, in general, Criminal Code charges do not automatically lead to a suspension or other discipline.

“In cases where employees of the City of Winnipeg have been charged or have self-disclosed a sexual offence, the city conducts an employment investigation to determine the potential risk to the public and to the employees,” David Driedger, manager of corporate communications, wrote in an email.

Fraser’s killing has prompted renewed calls for increased safety measures for transit drivers.

Two online drives to raise money for his family had raised $32,000 by Thursday afternoon.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press