Clergyman assaulted in Nanaimo park

Three youths will face charges of assault and robbery after they allegedly punched and kicked an ordained minister during a robbery attempt in Maffeo Sutton Park.

The attack happened May 21 at about 12:30 a.m. when the 50-year-old clergyman was walking in the park.

Police said the victim, who was not wearing clothing identifying him as a clergyman, heard a man run up from behind, swear at him and then call for two friends to join in and rob him.

"They were after money and cigarettes, but he didn't have any money or cigarettes," said Const. Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

The victim was punched in the face several times and tried to flee, but fell and was kicked repeatedly once on the ground.

He managed to get up and run toward the basketball courts where several people playing basketball saw what was happening and started yelling at the assailants, which ended the assault.

The victim was able to call 911 on his cellphone and with help from the witnesses, police were able to track down and arrest the three male suspects, ages 18, 16 and 12.

The suspects were released on promises to appear in Nanaimo provincial court June 19 and 21.

The minister has asked that his identity and that of his church not be released.

"He was pretty frazzled, otherwise he didn't require medical attention," O'Brien said.

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