Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

A prestigious private school where a student was allegedly sexually assaulted did not report the incident to the Toronto police, a spokeswoman for the force said Thursday, adding that a criminal investigation was launched only after officers were contacted by the media.

Police did not release any details about the incident, which allegedly took place at St. Michael’s College School, an all-boys Catholic institution that teaches grades 7 through 12.

In an email to parents, the school’s principal said they had been made aware of “two very serious incidents” that were in clear violation of the student code of conduct.

“The administration was informed about these incidents on Monday of this week and immediately began an internal investigation that included informing police and meeting individually with the students involved and their parents,” Greg Reeves wrote in the note sent Wednesday afternoon.

“Our concern is first and foremost with the safety and well-being of our students and we are shocked and heartbroken that such incidents have taken place at our school,” he said.

Const. Caroline de Kloet said the school had contacted police on Monday to seek advice on how to deal with an incident that was not the alleged sex assault.

“Advice was provided to the school and no further action was taken or received,” de Kloet said.

RELATED: Students speak out about university’s handling of reported sexual assault case

She said the force began investigating on Wednesday after receiving media inquiries about an alleged sex assault.

The school said in a statement Wednesday that “swift and decisive disciplinary action” had taken place, including expulsions, but it didn’t say how many.

St. Michael’s is run by the Basilian Fathers with roots dating back to the Congregation of St. Basil in France that is a “fully independent, Catholic high school,” according to its website.

“We are deeply saddened by the events that have come to light over the past days,” said Rev. Thomas Rosica, a spokesman for the Basilian Fathers. “Our primary concern in all of this situation is the protection of students, young people and vulnerable persons.”

Rosica said the organization is working with school officials and authorities to establish a timeline of events.

Two police sources said the incident the school discussed with officers on Monday involved members of the basketball team bullying a student and soaking him with water. Those sources say there was another incident involving the football team where a group of boys held down another student and allegedly sexually assaulted him with a broom handle. Both incidents were captured on video and circulated among the students at the school.

In a rare move, police released a statement Wednesday night saying investigators had determined the video of the alleged sexual assault met the definition of child pornography.

“Anyone who has this video is in possession of child pornography,” police said. “The video must be deleted immediately and cannot be shared with anyone.”

Det. Sgt. Paul Krawczyk, who runs the child exploitation section within the sex crimes division at Toronto police, said they decided to act proactively and warn both parents and students about the severity of possessing and sharing the video.

“It shows the alleged sexual assault of a child,” he said in an interview.

Krawczyk said getting the video removed from the internet will be almost impossible, and in some cases police are worried about losing evidence.

“But we have the evidence we want,” he said. ”I’d rather lose potential evidence and save a victim from having this sent around more. It’s trying to stop that little hole of water from becoming a burst dam.”

RELATED: Investigation underway into reported sexual assault at B.C. naval base

Krawczyk said he wants both parents and students in general to be aware of the perils of sharing sexually explicit videos.

“There are charges at play, like non consensual distribution of intimate images,” he said.

St. Michael’s is known for its athletic programs, and alumni include hockey greats Frank Mahovlich, Dave Keon and Tim Horton. Other alumni include Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

The school is run by the Basilian Fathers with roots dating back to the Congregation of St. Basil in France that is a “fully independent, Catholic high school,” according to its website.

Liam Casey, 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

Police are looking to identify suspects in an Oct. 10 report of mischief in at a construction site in the 2800-block of Peatt Road in Langford. (West Shore RCMP handout)
West Shore RCMP seeks suspects after trio spray paints Langford construction site

Three individuals caught on camera hopping a fence on Peatt Road

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

A sentencing hearing began for Joel Conway who was convicted of break and enter and sexual assault last year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Saanich man sentenced to three years in prison for breaking into woman’s home and sexually assaulting her

Crown is asking Joel Conway be sentenced to four years for both charges, to be served concurrent

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read