New charges laid in police probe into incidents at St. Michael’s College School

New charges laid in police probe into incidents at St. Michael’s College School

Six students previously charged with assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon

An investigation into allegations of physical and sexual assault at a prestigious all-boys private school has led to multiple charges against a total of seven students, Toronto police said Wednesday.

Insp. Domenic Sinopoli, head of the force’s sex crimes unit, said investigators had concluded an ongoing probe into a total of eight incidents of alleged abuse at St. Michael’s College School, all involving members of the football program.

Sinopoli said that while police did not lay charges in five of the eight incidents because they were not conclusively criminal or because victims opted not to pursue the matter, a total of seven students now face charges in three incidents that allegedly took place on school grounds between September and November of this year.

Six students had previously been charged with assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon in connection to a November incident that was captured on video.

Sinopoli said four of those students, plus one more, were arrested on Wednesday in an alleged sexual assault believed to have taken place on Oct. 17. Two of those previously charged are also accused of assault and assault with a weapon in a third incident that allegedly took place on Sep. 18.

“We do not have any evidence or complaints to suggest that this type of behaviour extended outside of this school year or involved anyone outside this small group of students,” he said.

“Our research into these incidents and our past dealings with the college did not suggest any trend that would lead someone to believe that this is an ongoing and systemic problem.”

Sinopoli said none of the school’s faculty or staff, including former principal Greg Reeves, are facing charges in the various incidents.

St. Michael’s issued a statement shortly after the police news conference expressing a commitment to eradicating such incidents in the future.

“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,” interim president Rev. Andrew Leung said. ”We are committed to understanding why this behaviour happened and what led to it, and to putting measures in place to ensure it does not happen again.”

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

The sexual-assault scandal at the Catholic school garnered widespread public attention and led to the resignation of its top two officials.

St. Michael’s has since established a “respect and culture” review panel that is set to report its findings by the summer. A tip line for students to report any concerns or allegations was also set up.

The school also cancelled its football program for the next year, citing “problematic dynamics” on those teams.

Police said they had identified two alleged victims of sexual assault through their investigation who were both now receiving support.

Sinopoli said, however, that a video of one of the alleged incidents continues to circulate, causing ongoing trauma for the alleged victim. Police had previously stated that the video met the threshold for child pornography.

He said a video of the new suspected sexual assault may also exist, though police have not seen it.

The high-profile investigation has touched off an important conversation about school safety and appropriate conduct, Sinopoli said, noting it got underway only when a concerned student came forward to the school principal.

“This particular case has brought much-needed attention to this type of behaviour,” he said. “Physical and sexual abuse cannot be tolerated anywhere, let alone in schools where children should feel safe. Parents, students and teachers are all talking about this and of what is expected of them, and that is a good thing.”

With files from Nicole Thompson

Liam Casey and Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery Education Society, with the “first of its kind” Adult Residential Substance Use and Supportive Recovery Facility Homelessness Count. It was done around the time of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count (March 3 to 4, 2020) to complement the count. (Photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey homeless, recovery counts show need for long-term solutions

This was the first time recovery, substance use facilities were included in the count

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Hail to the chief – an in-depth interview with Surrey Police Service’s first boss

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski will assume his historic new role on Dec. 14

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Most Read