'Klutzy the Clown' released on bail in sex crimes case
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 8:12AM EDT
A Cape Breton man, better known as Klutzy the Clown, has been granted bail after being charged with four sex-related charges involving a minor.
Dale Rancourt, 51, was arrested on Sunday in Cape Breton. He’s facing two counts of sexual interference, one count of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual assault relating to a girl under the age of 16. Police allege all of the offences happened within the last month.
Rancourt attended a bail hearing at a provincial court in Sydney on Tuesday. He posted a $20,000 bond and was released later that day on a number of conditions, which includes having no contact with the alleged victim or anyone under the age of 18. Crown attorney Sheldon Nathanson told CTV Atlantic on Tuesday that the strict conditions are intended to protect the community.
“Mr. Rancourt has put up his house and property at the amount of $20,000, which is meaningful and significant bond and that should ensure his responsibilities are abided by in the community,” said Nathanson. “He's not allowed in any place where children under the age of 18 would normally attend.”
Nathanson also said Rancourt will be unable to work as a clown or hide his identity in any manner in accordance with his bail conditions.
“He's not allowed to wear any costume or mask or put any substance on his face or any materials that would alter his natural look,” Nathanson said. “It's going to prevent him from operating any type of entertainment facility.”
Rancourt has performed as Klutzy the Clown at birthday parties, children’s events and charitable fundraisers for more than two decades in Cape Breton. His business in Sydney is now closed with a sign on the front door telling customers to leave a message and they’ll be contacted at a later date.
Defence lawyer Mike Kuna said that his client has no prior criminal record.
“He’s quite relieved now. It’s a first-time experience for him,” Kuna said. “He’s relieved that at least this part is over.”
Rancourt’s next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 15.
Sydney residents told CTV Atlantic they were shocked by the allegations against Rancourt. The children’s entertainer has been active in the community for a long time.
“He seemed like a great person and a stand-up citizen,” resident Duncan Campbell said.
Another resident, Jordan Timmons, expressed his concern about the charges against Rancourt.
“I got a lot of nieces and nephews and children myself and I know he’s been at parties and stuff,” Timmons said. “It is shocking.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic