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

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerskson of the BC Liberal Party and his partner Shelley Wiese celebrate at his campaign office in downtown Williams Lake Oct. 24. Doerkson has been elected as the new MLA in Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Angie Mindus photo)
Updated: Lorne Doerkson elected in Cariboo Chilcotin in preliminary results

Outgoing MLA Donna Barnett said win is ‘exciting’ for region

Power outage at Bridge Lake.
Power outage south of Bridge Lake impacts 85 customers

The outage has been caused by a fallen tree

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read