File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS                                Gregory Reeves, former principal of St. Michael’s College School, speaks to reporters at the school in Toronto.

File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Gregory Reeves, former principal of St. Michael’s College School, speaks to reporters at the school in Toronto.

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

TORONTO — An investigation into alleged sexual and physical abuse at a prestigious private Toronto school led to the arrest of a seventh student Wednesday as police laid a slew of new charges in the case.

Six teens were charged last month in connection with an alleged sexual assault at St. Michael’s College School, an incident that triggered a police probe into eight incidents at the Roman Catholic institution.

Investigators said five of those teens, and one not previously arrested, now face new charges in connection with a second alleged sexual assault. Two of the original six also face assault charges in a third incident.

All the incidents took place on school grounds this fall and involved the members of the football program, police said.

Insp. Domenic Sinopoli said the high-profile probe was launched after a concerned student alerted the school principal to a video of one of the alleged sexual assaults.

“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.”

The school said it was committed to understanding what led to such troubling incidents.

“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 in a statement.

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

Reeves — who resigned in late November along with the school board president — had been widely criticized for not promptly reporting one of the alleged sexual assaults to police. Before stepping down, he said the allegations indicated the school has a problem.

In the weeks after the allegations at St. Michael’s first came to light, several alumni came forward to share stories of bullying during their time at the school and to express the need for a fundamental shift in culture at the prestigious institution.

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 noted, however, that the alleged offences were not indicative of systemic issues at the institution.

“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,” Sinopoli.

“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.”

Police have laid a total of 37 charges in the case and said they don’t expect to lay any more.

The six students arrested last month were charged at the time with assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon. Four of those, and one other, were charged Wednesday with the same charges in a separate incident believed to have taken place on Oct. 17.

Two of those previously charged were also accused of assault and assault with a weapon in a third incident that allegedly took place on Sep. 18.

All the accused teens have been granted bail. Their cases are back in court on Jan. 28.

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. Police had previously stated that the video met the threshold for child pornography.

“The video and its distribution is a constant reminder to victims of the trauma they have endured,” Sinopoli said. “This could be far more detrimental than the assault itself.”

St. Michaels

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

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Not all long-term care workers have received their vaccines including a Red Deer facility

There continues to be confusion in long-term care and supportive living facilities… Continue reading

Cattle graze winter pasture in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies near Longview, Alta. on Jan. 8, 2004. Concern over the provincial government’s decision to drop a coal policy that has protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies for decades is growing among area communities. At least six cities, towns and municipal districts in southwest Alberta have now expressed concern about the decision and the fact it was made with no consultation. The latest is Longview, where mayor Kathie Wight is drafting a letter to the government opposing the move. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
More southern Alberta communities voice concern over province’s plans to expand coal

Concern over the Alberta government’s decision to drop a coal policy that… Continue reading

Some residents say there is no longer an effective Nordegg fire department to respond to emergencies in the West Country. (Contributed photo).
Some Nordegg residents worry about lack of emergency response in the West Country

The possibility of wildfires or accidents is ‘scary’ says former fire leader

(Advocate file photo).
Six idling vehicles stolen in last 48 hours: Red Deer RCMP

Red Deer RCMP said Wednesday six idling vehicles in the city were… Continue reading

FILE - Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has his final meeting of the season with the media at the NHL hockey team's practice facility in Cranberry, Pa., in this Wednesday, May 9, 2018, file photo. Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, a Hall of Famer who helped lead to a pair of Stanley Cup titles, resigned abruptly on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who oversaw Cup wins, resigns

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who oversaw Cup wins, resigns

Outfielder George Springer is shown in a screengrab from a virtual news conference he took part in on Wednesday, Jan.27, 2021. Springer says he's excited to be a part of a young, talented team like the Toronto Blue Jays, a club he believes has plenty of potential. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Blue Jays introduce outfielder George Springer after signing him to six-year deal

Blue Jays introduce outfielder George Springer after signing him to six-year deal

Bucs fans set to cheer inside, outside Super Bowl stadium

Bucs fans set to cheer inside, outside Super Bowl stadium

Hamilton Tiger Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli tries to fend off Saskatchewan Roughrider Zack Evans during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton on Thursday, June 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli signs extension with Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli signs extension with Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot (72) tries to clear Vancouver Canucks centre Jay Beagle (83) from in front of Senators goaltender Marcus Hogberg (1) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, January 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Demko dynamite as Vancouver Canucks beat Ottawa Senators 5-1

Demko dynamite as Vancouver Canucks beat Ottawa Senators 5-1

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) knocks a rebound away from Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Lowry reaches 10,000-point plateau as a Raptor in 115-108 loss to Milwaukee

Lowry reaches 10,000-point plateau as a Raptor in 115-108 loss to Milwaukee

Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov (47) and defenseman John Klingberg (3) celebrates a goal by Joe Pavelski against the Nashville Predators during the third period an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 in Dallas. (AP Photo/ Richard W. Rodriguez)
‘Sloppy’ hockey is the name of the game early in NHL season

‘Sloppy’ hockey is the name of the game early in NHL season

Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith instructs his team in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on February 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Zalubowski
With less practice time, NHL morning skates making a comeback in 2021

With less practice time, NHL morning skates making a comeback in 2021

Most Read