Ilisaqsivik director on leave pending sexual assault charge outcome
Organization backtracks on its defence of Malcolm Ranta, contradicts its original statement
Ilisaqsivik is walking back its defence of its executive director who was charged with sexual assault this summer, and says it will place him on administrative leave pending court proceedings.
In a statement to Nunatsiaq News on Monday, the Clyde River-based not-for-profit along with its subsidiary Tukumaaq Inc., which owns two hotels in the hamlet, said Malcolm Ranta is on personal leave and will be placed on administrative leave when that ends.
“Late this summer, the Boards of both organizations were saddened to learn that Malcolm Ranta, the executive director of Ilisaqsivik and the director of operations of Tukumaaq was charged with sexual assault,” the statement read.
Ranta, 34, was charged July 18 with one count of sexual assault against a woman, according to court documents filed with the Nunavut Court of Justice.
The Ilisaqsivik Society runs wellness programming and Inuktitut-language counselling in Clyde River and other Nunavut communities. It is the largest employer in Clyde River, with about 200 employees.
The Ilisaqsivik Society’s board had previously stood by Ranta and had asked him to stay on as executive director.
On Nov. 9, in response to a request for comment from Nunatsiaq News, Ilisaqsivik Society vice-chairperson Jukeepa Hainnu said, “We have done our own investigation into this matter. We see no truth in the accusations that have been made against him and we are confident the court system will come to the same conclusion.”
Last week, CBC North reported that Ilisaqsivik interviewed Ranta, who denied the allegations, but that no investigation was conducted by Ilisaqsivik.
On Monday, the board walked back its original statement to Nunatsiaq News as well as its support for Ranta. The boards of Ilisaqsivik and Tukumaaq issued a second unsigned statement.
“Regrettably, without the benefit of advice, the boards took no initial action following the receipt of this information and it was unfortunately reported in the local media through the Nunatsiaq News that the board of Ilisaqsivik had conducted an investigation and saw no merit in the allegations. This was incorrect,” that statement said.
“While the board of Ilisaqsivik interviewed Mr. Ranta who denied the allegations, no investigation was conducted. Accordingly, the boards of both organizations are not in any position to comment on the potential merit or lack of merit of any charge and it is not the role of the boards to make such comments.”
Ranta was scheduled to appear in court in Iqaluit on Monday but the courthouse was closed due to bad weather. Following his arrest, he was released from custody on an undertaking with the court.
Both Ilisaqsivik and Tukumaaq said they will not comment further given that Ranta’s charge is before the courts.
“Ilisaqsivik is an organization devoted to promoting wellness in its community. It unreservedly condemns sexual assault and any form of conduct which undermines the dignity, health or well being of any individual,” the Monday statement said.