Heatherington resigns from council

CALGARY - Dar Heatherington, the Lethbridge, Alta., alderwoman who made headlines last year when she falsely claimed she was abducted and sexually assaulted while on a trip to Montana, has resigned from city council.

The resignation follows Heatherington's conviction last June of public mischief in a separate incident. The court ruled that Heatherington had made up a story about being stalked.

The mayor and council, who had been willing to go to court to force her out, accepted the resignation unanimously Monday.

It takes effect Sept. 10, the same day Heatherington, 41, is to be sentenced for public mischief.

Council had maintained that under the Municipal Government Act, Heatherington's conviction which carries a maximum sentence of five years meant she could no longer sit as an alderwoman.

Council had asked lawyers to investigate options to have her removed.

Heatherington, a first-term alderwoman, had argued that she would only be considered convicted once her sentence had been handed down. She is appealing the judge's ruling that found her guilty of sending lurid letters to herself.

Heatherington, a mother of three, will undergo a psychiatric assessment before her Sept. 10 sentencing.

She was charged with public mischief a year ago, when police concluded, after an eight-month investigation into her stalking allegations, that she was making them up.

She went to Lethbridge police in October 2002, saying she'd received seven phone calls from an anonymous man who began by complimenting her work at city hall and then started to make comments about her body.

Heatherington said she also began receiving letters at her home.

Heatherington drew international attention last May when she disappeared from Great Falls, Mont., and turned up in Las Vegas three days later, claiming to have been abducted, drugged and sexually assaulted.

After interviewing her, Great Falls police said she changed her story and that she went to Nevada with a man. They charged her with making a false statement to police. Prosecutors allowed her to plead not guilty to the charge and dropped it in May 2004, after she received psychiatric counselling.

Heatherington has insisted she is telling the truth, and that she was abducted, drugged and sexually assaulted.

Written by CBC News Online staff