Six students at St. Michael’s College School have each been charged with gang sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, and assault after a video surfaced showing a student allegedly being sexually assaulted with a broomstick, according to Toronto police.
In a press conference held Monday morning, Inspector Dominic Sinopoli, unit commander of sex crimes for Toronto police, said the boys were charged this morning; five of them turned themselves in, some with lawyers, some without.
Sinopoli said police are investigating a total of two sexual assaults, and two assaults at the school.
The charges relate to a video allegedly depicting a student naked from the waist down and being sexually assaulted with a broomstick in the school’s locker room as fellow students hold his legs down. Another video allegedly shows a boy in a washroom sink in his underwear with water being run over him, as other students slap his bare skin—the events in that video are being investigated as assault. Police are also investigating an additional case of alleged sexual assault that they became aware of Thursday, and additional allegations of assault. Sinopoli said there are at least four victims currently being investigated, but he believes there are more, and that there are more videos.
“I do believe there are more videos and/or more incidents,” Sinopoli told reporters. “All of these instances appear to be hazing initiated but once they cross into a criminal area that’s when we become involved.”
St. Michael's College principal, Gregory Reeves, was going to address media at police headquarters Monday morning but had to turn around because the school received a bomb threat, police said. So far, eight students have been expelled from the school—four in relation to the locker room video and four in relation to the washroom sink video.
The posh private boys school has been under much scrutiny regarding how quickly it reported the videos to police.
Sinopoli said Reeves called police Monday to seek “advice” about a “hazing incident” and was told to advise an alleged victim to contact police. Sinopoli said police became aware of the alleged sexual assault with the broomstick following inquiries from media outlets on Wednesday. At that point, police dispatched an officer to the school.
The school released a timeline last week that somewhat differs from Sinopoli’s account.
The timeline indicates the school reported the washroom video to police on Monday, but not the video of the alleged sexual assault in the locker room. It said the school was conducting internal investigations on the alleged sexual assault in the locker room until Wednesday, which is when it informed police.
Sinopoli encouraged other St. Mike’s students who have been victimized or witnessed anything to come forward.
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