London city hall official ‘reassigned’ after assault charges – The London Free Press

A former police officer turned city staffer who was leading the city’s effort to make London safer for women was taken off the file after assault charges were laid against him, the Free Press has learned.

Marcel Marcellin, who works in the city manager’s office and acted as chief of staff for Mayor Matt Brown for a short time last year, is charged with two counts of assault against the same woman in 1995 and 1996, according to court documents obtained by The Free Press.

Until Monday, he was the lead on London’s UN Safe Cities project, a council-endorsed plan to tackle sexual violence against women.

City manager Martin Hayward confirmed in an e-mailed statement that the Safe Cities file has been “temporary reassigned.”

“We are aware that allegations have been raised against Marcel Marcellin, and that these relate to a personal matter,” Hayward wrote. “We will continue to review to identify any additional projects that may be impacted as a result of these allegations.”

The case returns to court in October.

Marcellin, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, was a London police officer for more than two decades. In 2009, he was appointed as the force’s diversity officer. The father of three also ran provincially for the Liberal Party in London-Fanshawe in the 2014 election.

Marcellin initially began work on the Safe Cities project in 2017, when he was a senior policy adviser in Brown’s office.

Megan Walker, the head of the London Abused Women’s Centre, said she was concerned by the connection.

“In any situation, where somebody is in charge of co-ordinating or overseeing projects that have to do with women’s safety, I would be concerned if they were or had been charged with a criminal offence involving women,” she said.

Walker said she was aware of the charges and confirmed that her agency has had “a long-term relationship” with the complainant.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that all women are potential victims of violence and abuse for no other reason than their gender. While we know that the majority of men are good, upstanding, supportive citizens and allies to women, we also know that the majority of abusers are men,” she said.

The Safe Cities initiative is aimed at stopping sexual harassment and violence, especially in public spaces.

London’s effort to become a “Safe City” under the UN Women agency banner – the third Canadian city and first in Ontario to join that effort – began last year when the non-profit Anova (formerly Women’s Community House and Sexual Assault Centre of London) approached the mayor’s office with the idea.  The agency continues to spearhead the effort in a partnership with city hall.

More than a dozen other groups and agencies are also on board.

The project began in earnest this summer, when a digital mapping site was launched to collect data on where women feel particularly safe and unsafe in London. The map has since been pinned more than 1,600 times.

AnnaLise Trudell, education manager at Anova, said the change in leadership won’t deter the work of building a safer city.

“The initiative is not going away, just because there’s been a shift in leadership at the city. We believe in process. There’s a process in place, and we will let that play out,” she said. “The city is one of the main drivers (of Safe Cities), but the whole city itself . . . has been incredibly supportive.”

-with files by Free Press reporter Dale Carruthers