Having identified about 80 witnesses and conducted around 60 interviews, the investigation into assaults is complete, but the police are still looking into videotaping of the assaults and distribution of the cell phone video. Photo by Michael Swan

Seventh teen arrested in sexual assault investigation at St. Michael’s College School

  • December 20, 2018

A seventh teen has been arrested in connection with an investigation into sexual assaults at Toronto’s St. Michael’s College School.

Four other teens who had already been arrested have also been charged in a second alleged sexual assault, police said Dec. 19. Each was charged with assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon.

At a press conference, police said they have wrapped up their investigation into gang sexual assaults at the Catholic boys school and that all the charges involve members of the football team.

Inspector Dominic Sinopoli, commander of the the sex crimes unit, said he did not believe St. Michael’s has a “systemic” issue with sexual abuse or abuse in general.

He said there is no evidence that this “behaviour extended outside of this school year or involved anyone outside this small group of students.”

In total, police investigated eight incidents involving players from the school’s football and basketball teams. Charges were laid in three of the incidents.

There has not been any information that teachers were aware of the instances, police said.

Police have also not received reports of any historical physical or sexual abuse at St. Michael’s College School.

“This is another painful and heartbreaking day, but also a necessary step in our school’s journey as we learn the truth about the terrible incidents that happened, and rededicate ourselves to both immediate and long-term change,” Fr. Andrew Leung, interim president of St. Michael’s, said in a statement.

Having identified about 80 witnesses and conducted around 60 interviews, the investigation into assaults is complete, but the police are still looking into video recording of the assaults and distribution of the cell phone video.

“We are still actively investigating the fact that the original sexual assault was both videotaped and subsequently distributed,” Sinopoli said.

He said there is evidence which suggests people are still in possession of the video and may have tried to upload it to social media. Police had previously warned the St. Michael’s student body the videos would be classified as child pornography.

“We will be relentless in this regard,” he said. “Altering or cropping the video does not change the digital identifiers of the video. You will be caught. You will be charged. As I have stated, the video and its distribution is a constant reminder to victims of the trauma they have endured. In many ways, this could be far more detrimental than the assault itself.”

Police investigated eight separate incidents at the school. Three of them are now proceeding as criminal matters. They include two alleged gang rapes and an alleged assault with a weapon. According to police, the alleged gang rapes happened on Oct. 17 and Nov. 7, both in the school’s locker room. An alleged assault with a weapon took place Sept. 19, according to police.

There are no grounds to charge former St. Mike’s principal Greg Reeves for a delay in reporting the incidents to police, Sinopoli said.

“We have consulted with several assistant crown attorneys who have confirmed that no charges are warranted,” Sinopoli said.

Reeves and school president Fr. Jefferson Thompson resigned Nov. 22. 

Reeves called 13 Division on Nov. 12 to ask for advice about a hazing incident. He was told how students victimized in the incident could report it to police. Two days later the police learned from media enquiries about videos of an assault at the school circulating among students. A police officer was dispatched to the school and Reeves turned over the video.

All of the students charged are between 14 and 15 years old. Their identities are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. 

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