Toronto police charged five St. Michael’s College School students with gang sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, and assault Wednesday as they concluded their investigation into eight separate incidents into the school.
The news comes as six students from the all boys’ school previously charged with gang sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, and assault connected to a different incident were scheduled to appear in court today.
In a press conference held Wednesday morning, Inspector Domenic Sinopoli, unit commander of sex crimes for Toronto police, said four of the students charged with gang sexual assault today were also charged with gang sexual assault on November 19. Additionally, two students were charged Wednesday with assault with a weapon and assault connected to a third incident—both were also charged with gang sexual assault on November 19.
All told, police looked into eight incidents at the school, with allegations ranging from threatening behaviour to gang sexual assault. Three of those incidents are now proceeding as criminal matters—the two alleged gang rapes and the alleged assault with a weapon.
The students’ identities are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Police said the alleged gang rapes took place on October 17 and November 7 and both occurred in the school’s locker room. The alleged assault with a weapon took place on September 19.
The video showing the alleged gang rape on November 7 depicts a student naked from the waist down, being sexually assaulted with a broomstick in the school’s locker room as fellow students hold his legs down.
Police believe there may be video of the alleged sexual assault on October 17 but they do not have it. They would not say what weapon was used during that alleged sexual assault. Sinopoli said versions of the video of the alleged gang rape from November 7 are still being circulated.
He said the investigations into the five incidents not proceeding as criminal matters are closed either because there was no obvious criminal element or the complainants did not want to speak to police.
Sinopoli said he doesn’t believe there is a “systemic” issue with sexual abuse or abuse at the school.
“We have no information to suggest any of the teachers, any of the teaching staff were aware of any of these instances,” he said.
The school, which serves Grades 7-12, has expelled at least eight students in connection with the alleged attacks and both its principal Greg Reeves, and president Father Jefferson Thompson, have resigned.
Several students have told reporters the incidents are tied to hazing rituals. The school has cancelled its football and basketball programs.
The school is also under scrutiny for how quickly it reported the incidents to police. Police said they found out about the locker room video after reporters began making inquiries.
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