UPDATE: Summerland businessman charged with sex offences

Joshua James Roberts is facing five charges related to sex offences involving a minor.

Josh Roberts

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UPDATE Dec. 12 1:55 p.m.

Murray Roberts confirmed on Friday afternoon that his son Joshua James Roberts is not an owner of Murray’s Pizza, but it is something people often assumed.

“People assumed it because Josh was the manager for 10 years. He never signed any documents for us, he is not the owner,” said Murray.

He said his son is not even considered an employee of Murray’s Pizza as of recent. He said his son cut back on hours due to a medical condition, then faced another medical setback that prevented him from work at all.

“He can’t work and now he won’t be coming back as an employee,” said Murray.

Prior to the medical conditions, Murray said his son handled all the promotional tasks and agreed Josh was the face of the company, mostly in Summerland, but occasionally in Penticton. He added that his son was often viewed as the owner because of this and because of his family ties to the company. When asked about a Summerland Chamber of Commerce newsletter and other publications that had listed Josh as the owner, Murray said that was a mistake.

Murray said he hopes people can separate the allegations against his son and Murray’s Pizza.

“We have done a lot in this community and a tremendous job in the schools. We have enjoyed being involved in the community and look forward to continuing to do that,” said Murray.

 

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Update Dec. 12

West Kelowna Murray’s Pizza franchise owner Cory Wiens said news of charges laid on Joshua James Roberts came as a shock to him.

“I knew there was trouble of some sort, but it was just what I had seen on a forum called Topix,” said Wiens. “Last time I talked to him was over a month ago and all he said was he can’t talk about it.”

Wiens, who purchased the franchise over a year ago, said he has concerns that people will start associating the allegations Roberts is facing with his franchise.

“He hasn’t had anything to do with our store since we have had it. We bought this business as a family for our retirement. We have our own delivery cars and basically have nothing to do with the company. I have concerns that my employees may face consequences from this, my delivery cars or business could be vandalized,” said Wiens.

The franchise owner said from his understanding Roberts was managing the Summerland location and it is Roberts’ father that owns the Summerland, Penticton and Oliver Murray’s Pizza locations.

According to a newsletter produced by the Summerland Chamber of Commerce in July 2014, Roberts was listed as an owner in Summerland. The Penticton Western News attempted to contact Roberts weeks ago, but he did not respond. On Friday there was no answer at the Summerland Murray’s Pizza location and employees at the Penticton store said the owner was not in and the employees did not want to speak with the media.

 

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A prominent Summerland businessman has been charged with several sexual offences involving a minor.

Joshua James Roberts is facing charges of sexual exploitation, invitation to touching, possession of child pornography, child luring via the internet and assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm.

Sgt. Stephane Lacroix said the charges were laid on Dec. 10. The investigation began in October following a complaint made to the Summerland RCMP.

The incidents allegedly occurred between March 1, 2011 and Sept. 1, 2013 and involve a person under the age of 18, a publication ban has been issued to protect the young person’s identity.

According to the information sheet from the Penticton courthouse that detail the charges, Roberts is alleged to have sexually assaulted a person under 18 and allegedly committed an assault using a pan as a weapon.

Roberts is the owner of Murray’s Pizza, which has locations in Summerland, Penticton, West Kelowna and Oliver. In 2011, Murray’s Pizza was one of the five nominees in the Business Excellence Category in the Summerland Chamber of Commerce Awards.

The business was started with his father when Roberts left high school. Through Murray’s Pizza, Roberts was known for his charitable work in the community including reading programs at the schools.

Okanagan Skaha School District superintendent Wendy Hyer said she couldn’t make a comment about Roberts involvement with the schools because she had not heard of the charges being brought forward.

“I don’t know enough about this at this time to comment,” she said.

Roberts has been released on a recognizance since his appearance at the Penticton provincial court on Wednesday. He must abide by a number of conditions including not to possess any electronic devices for communication and not to be in the company of anyone under the age of 18 without supervision.

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