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.

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

Just Posted

Chilliwack Walk & Shop to support local businesses, offer customer promotions

The Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network is promoting the event next weekend

Death of 19-year-old killed in dramatic Chilliwack car fire ruled ‘accidental’

Victim found with fentanyl in his system, bong and propane torch in front seat

UPDATE: Undercover video shows alleged animal abuse at Abbotsford egg farm

One employee wearing logo of Chilliwack chicken-catching company already facing abuse charges

Kelowna animal rights activist speaks out amid charges in 2019 Abbotsford hog-farm protest

Amy Soranno, along with three other activists, will appear in court on Sept. 3

Drugs and cash seized from Chilliwack residence

Two face charges after RCMP execute search warrant at Garrison Crossing home

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Unofficial holidays: here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Aug. 16 to 22

World Photography Day, Black Cat Appreciation Day and Rum Day all coming up this week

Police warn of sex offender, with ‘high risk to re-offend,’ living in Lower Mainland

Howard Geddes-Skelding, 28, was released from BC Corrections Aug. 14, Surrey RCMP say

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Wings and Wheels set for weekend lift-off in Abbotsford

Fundraiser to raise money for Crystal Gala Foundation and the fight against breast cancer

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Most Read