Traditional healer faces sexual assault charge

HAMILTON — Walter Cooke, a traditional healer who worked at a health centre in Hamilton has been charged with sexual assault.

A female patient told Hamilton police that she was sexually assaulted by Cooke earlier this month at the Aboriginal Health Centre on Main street East. After an investigation, police arrested Cooke last Wednesday and laid the previously mentioned charge.

He has since been released but must adhere to several conditions.

Cooke, has worked at the De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre (AHC) downtown Hamilton since 1999 and has an extensive clientele. He works as an elder and counsellor for the health centre and his Anishnabe name is “Cheek ka shky” meaning “Star Watcher”.

Cooke was born in Berens River, Manitoba into the Ojibway-Cree Nation and is a member of the Bear Clan. He lives in Winona, Ont. with his wife, Deborah and together they have three children and five grandchildren.

AHC released a statement expressing how saddened they are in hearing about Cooke’s arrest.

“We make no conclusion as to the veracity of these allegations but you will understand that our first priority is and always will be the health of our clients,” reads the statement from AHC. “We are committed to working collaboratively with the Hamilton Police Services as they investigate the charges.

Effective immediately, Mr. Cooke has been placed on an administrative leave.”Police are asking anyone with any other information about the investigation to contact them, and anyone who wishes to remain anonymous may also call Crime Stoppers at 1(800) 222-8477.


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