Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

A prestigious private school where a student was allegedly sexually assaulted did not report the incident to the Toronto police, a spokeswoman for the force said Thursday, adding that a criminal investigation was launched only after officers were contacted by the media.

Police did not release any details about the incident, which allegedly took place at St. Michael’s College School, an all-boys Catholic institution that teaches grades 7 through 12.

In an email to parents, the school’s principal said they had been made aware of “two very serious incidents” that were in clear violation of the student code of conduct.

“The administration was informed about these incidents on Monday of this week and immediately began an internal investigation that included informing police and meeting individually with the students involved and their parents,” Greg Reeves wrote in the note sent Wednesday afternoon.

“Our concern is first and foremost with the safety and well-being of our students and we are shocked and heartbroken that such incidents have taken place at our school,” he said.

Const. Caroline de Kloet said the school had contacted police on Monday to seek advice on how to deal with an incident that was not the alleged sex assault.

“Advice was provided to the school and no further action was taken or received,” de Kloet said.

RELATED: Students speak out about university’s handling of reported sexual assault case

She said the force began investigating on Wednesday after receiving media inquiries about an alleged sex assault.

The school said in a statement Wednesday that “swift and decisive disciplinary action” had taken place, including expulsions, but it didn’t say how many.

St. Michael’s is run by the Basilian Fathers with roots dating back to the Congregation of St. Basil in France that is a “fully independent, Catholic high school,” according to its website.

“We are deeply saddened by the events that have come to light over the past days,” said Rev. Thomas Rosica, a spokesman for the Basilian Fathers. “Our primary concern in all of this situation is the protection of students, young people and vulnerable persons.”

Rosica said the organization is working with school officials and authorities to establish a timeline of events.

Two police sources said the incident the school discussed with officers on Monday involved members of the basketball team bullying a student and soaking him with water. Those sources say there was another incident involving the football team where a group of boys held down another student and allegedly sexually assaulted him with a broom handle. Both incidents were captured on video and circulated among the students at the school.

In a rare move, police released a statement Wednesday night saying investigators had determined the video of the alleged sexual assault met the definition of child pornography.

“Anyone who has this video is in possession of child pornography,” police said. “The video must be deleted immediately and cannot be shared with anyone.”

Det. Sgt. Paul Krawczyk, who runs the child exploitation section within the sex crimes division at Toronto police, said they decided to act proactively and warn both parents and students about the severity of possessing and sharing the video.

“It shows the alleged sexual assault of a child,” he said in an interview.

Krawczyk said getting the video removed from the internet will be almost impossible, and in some cases police are worried about losing evidence.

“But we have the evidence we want,” he said. ”I’d rather lose potential evidence and save a victim from having this sent around more. It’s trying to stop that little hole of water from becoming a burst dam.”

RELATED: Investigation underway into reported sexual assault at B.C. naval base

Krawczyk said he wants both parents and students in general to be aware of the perils of sharing sexually explicit videos.

“There are charges at play, like non consensual distribution of intimate images,” he said.

St. Michael’s is known for its athletic programs, and alumni include hockey greats Frank Mahovlich, Dave Keon and Tim Horton. Other alumni include Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

The school is run by the Basilian Fathers with roots dating back to the Congregation of St. Basil in France that is a “fully independent, Catholic high school,” according to its website.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Workers had a busy time today repairing a broken main water line. (District of Houston photo)
Water service being restored

Main line on 13th had broken

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week following the news that the remains of as many as 215 children were found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The flags were raised back up yesterday. (Houston Today photo)
Flags lowered in memory

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week… Continue reading

Bruce Tang- Unsplash photo
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

“Older adults in our communities continue to find themselves in vulnerable situations… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read