Three boys from St Michael’s College School plead guilty to sex assault

By 
  • October 3, 2019

Three St. Michael’s College School students involved in the sexual assault scandal that rocked the prestigious Toronto Catholic school pleaded guilty Oct. 3 to sexual assault charges.

All three boys pleaded guilty to a count of sex assault with a weapon and assault with a weapon. One of the students also pled guilty to distributing making child pornography. Footage was broadcast widely on social media shortly after the Nov. 7, 2018 incident and showed a student being assaulted with what appeared to be a broomstick.

The three were among seven students originally charged in connection with two alleged gang sexual assaults at the school and an alleged assault with a weapon. All three incidents involved members of the school’s junior football team. Charges were withdrawn against one of the boys in August.

None of the students charged can be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.Cases against two other students have ended but the outcomes are unknown. A judge’s order would be needed to make the result public. One student’s case remains unresolved. All seven of boys left the school in the wake the incidents — four were expelled and three withdrew.

In a statement, the school's interim president, Fr. Andrew Leung, said that "the school is abiding by the court-imposed publication ban and as such will not provide any further comment."

He added: "As we move forward on our respect and culture journey, our goal remains resolute — to ensure the safety and well-being of our students."

The incidents drew widespread, national media attention to the school and led to the resignations of principal Greg Reeves and board president Fr. Jefferson Thompson, and the suspension of the junior football and senior basketball programs. The basketball program was soon reinstated, as was the football program in June.

It also prompted a review of the culture at the school, which was released to the public Aug. 15. The four-person review committee concluded bullying is a systemic issue at the school, though no more so than with similar schools across Canada, and made 36 recommendations to address the issue. St. Michael’s has already begun implementing plans to combat bullying, including development of a comprehensive bullying prevention and intervention strategy, a review of policies and guidelines and a reorganization of the athletic and co-curricular programs. These efforts involves students, parents, alumni and other school stakeholders.

(NOTE: This story had been updated with comments from Fr. Andrew Leung.)

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