Thursday , June 17 2021

Toronto police said St. Michael had not informed them of a student's alleged sexual assault

A police car parked outside the St. Michael College School in Toronto on Thursday, 15 November 2018.

Frank Gunn / Canadian Press

Toronto police have learned from the media about alleged sexual assault of high school students, an officer said Thursday.

Constable Caroline de Cloet, the force spokeswoman, told the Globe and Mail that St. Michael's school called the police on Monday about one incident. Two police sources told the Canadian press that the event included members of the basketball team who harassed the student and washed him with water. "The advice was given to the school, and no further action was taken or received," said Constable de Calvet. "On Wednesday morning, we learned about another incident after we received information from the media, that is the case under investigation."

Police sources described the incident under investigation in the Canadian newspaper as involving the St. Michael football team, where a group of boys held another student, allegedly sexually assaulted him with an object. The event was captured in a video distributed among students of St. Michael. The school confirmed the rest of the season in the junior season was canceled. Police said the video meets the definition of child pornography and anyone who has to delete it.

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The school told parents in a letter on Wednesday that it was involved in the authorities after being informed of "two very serious incidents."

"The administration announced these incidents on Monday and immediately began an internal investigation that included informing the police and the meeting individually with the students involved and their parents," wrote Greg Reeves, principal of the Boys' School in the city center.

Constable de Chloe said Thursday that the school had never told the force about the incident that its officers were investigating.

Pastor Tomas Rosica, a spokesman for the Basilica of the Catholic Basilic Fathers who leads St. Michael, said he had learned about the alleged attack on Wednesday through media reports.

"We work closely with school officials and authorities to set a timeline for the events of this sad situation," he wrote by e-mail on Thursday evening. "The school will make statements when all information is collected.

"We are very saddened by the events that have been revealed in recent days, and our main concern in this situation is to protect students, young people and vulnerable people."

The school did not respond to repeated inquiries about communication with police and other welfare agencies.

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The child protection policy at St. Michael, which teaches grades 7 through 12, emphasizes that reporting a child's abuse of children is not only a legal obligation under the Child and Family Services Act, but rather "with Christian values." The law – the Child, Youth and Family Act – was introduced in 2017. The school reserves the right to "take all necessary steps" to ensure the welfare of the student, "measures that may include contacting appropriate authorities that may include the police." The policy also encourages immediate contact With local police in case of emergency, registration of telephone number for 13 brigade.

The act of 2017 does not explicitly include a duty to report if a child is suspected of having committed sexual abuse against another child. The obligation applies when someone learns that another person who is caring for a child knows, or should know, about the possibility of sexual abuse, but does not protect them. Ontario College of Teachers requires its members to report sexual abuse or neglect of a student when they become aware of it, regardless of whom it is alleged to be performing.

But if a private school teacher or Ontario director fails to report suspicions of sexual abuse, they may not face the same professional implications as colleagues who work for public school boards. Private school workers can choose whether to join college. Provincial, which can investigate, hold hearings and publicly hear its members about inappropriate behavior. College spokesman Brian Jameson told the Globe on Thursday that failing to report a child's abuse or neglect may be considered inappropriate professional behavior. But if a private school teacher or principal is not a college member, the organization's hands are tied.

"There's nothing the college can do," said Mr. Jemison. "The independent schools themselves are responsible for the employment and, if you wish, for their employees' work." Such schools, he added, "are mostly private businesses."

Police say they focus on the victim's investigation and welfare. "When we go ahead, we have to look at all aspects of it," said Constable de Kloet on Thursday. She also confirmed a threat against the school. In a letter to parents on Thursday, the school said police officers were on site because of "greater attention in school" . Questions about the threat were not explicitly mentioned and were not answered on Thursday.

The letter said that the school added a security presence "in the foreseeable future." The meetings for parents and guardians were set on Friday at 14:00 and 6:00

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