Toronto police respond to a bomb threat at St. Michael’s College School, in Toronto on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

The Toronto police’s sexual crimes unit has to date investigated eight incidents at a private Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations, the force said on Thursday.

The service had previously said it had looked into six incidents involving St. Michael’s College School.

Police spokeswoman Caroline de Kloet provided no further information on the investigations, which have so far resulted in charges against six students.

Word of the additional investigations came on the same day the school’s interim president said that only the institution’s football program had been cancelled for next year because of the particular dynamics on those teams.

At the same time, Rev. Andrew Leung said there was no reason to suspend any of the coaches at the school.

“There have been no incidents involving any of these coaches. The coaches were not allowed in the locker room,” Leung said. ”There is no reason to assign responsibility to anyone besides the perpetrators.”

The school has expelled eight of its 1,060 students in recent weeks amid the police investigations, which include probes into at least two videotaped incidents allegedly showing some students sexually abusing or physically assaulting other students in a locker-room or washroom.

The situation garnered widespread public attention, sparked angst and anger within the school community, and led to the resignation of its two top officials.

Six students face assault and sexual assault charges.

Read more: Former students share stories of bullying at St. Michael’s dating back decades

Read more: Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

While the school’s varsity basketball season was cancelled for this year, Leung said only the junior and varsity football programs had been scrapped for the next academic year.

He cited “incidents in the recent past” involving the football program that have come to light but which have had not necessarily been made public. All relevant information, he said, has been passed onto the police.

“This information, along with concerns we have heard about the overall dynamics on these teams, contributed to our decision,” Leung said. “We made a very hard decision to suspend two sports where more work needs to be done.”

Leung said there had been no complaints about the hockey program.

“We can only act on what we know, and we are doing everything to find out.”

While he said he had no information as to whether any parents had opted to take their children out of the St. Mike’s in light of the allegations, Leung did say applications to the school remained strong.

Despite the school’s directive to students to refrain from wearing their uniforms in public as a safety measure, Leung said no incidents had occurred and the request had been rescinded.

“There has been no indication of student safety issues on this, so they are allowed to wear their uniforms with pride in public,” he said.

In all, the school has begun implementation of an eight-point plan to deal with the fallout from the allegations. The measures include the establishment of a four-person “respect and culture” review panel to investigate and report back by the summer. Whether and in what form the independent panel’s report will be made public will be up the school’s board.

The school has also put in place a tip line for students to report any concerns or allegations.

“Somewhere along the line, we missed something grave and we are committed to identifying and fixing it,” Leung said. “My goal has been to understand the truth, even if it is hard to hear, because only then can we move forward in a meaningful way.”

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WildSafeBC reminds East Kootenay residents to give deer space during rut

Be cautious when driving as well, says WildSafeBC

RDEK yellow bin contract renewed for another five years

The RDEK continues to encourage the use of the Recycle BC Depots at local transfer stations

Editorial: Free Press editor bids farewell

Not too long ago the thought crossed my mind that I might… Continue reading

Health Foundation’s Starlite campaign underway

EKFH raising $1.2 million to bring a SPECT CT to the East Kootenay Region.

The Elk Valley remembers

Hundreds of people gathered throughout the Elk Valley to observe Remembrance Day… Continue reading

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

B.C. man gets life with no parole until 2042 for murder of Belgian tourist near Boston Bar

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchres

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

Little progress in preventing sudden infant deaths since last report: BC Coroner

Coroners panel studied 141 sleep-related sudden infant deaths between 2013 and 2018

B.C.’s ‘Dr. Frankenstein of guns’ back in jail yet again for trafficking in Glock parts

Bradley Michael Friesen has parole revoked for allegedly importing gun parts yet again

B.C. woman suing after laser hair removal leaves her with ‘severe’ burns, scarring

Nadeau felt ‘far more pain’ than usual during the treatment

Most Read