Thursday , April 22 2021

Director and president of St. Michael's College School resign amid student sex offense scandal



The director and president of St. Michael's College School resigned amid allegations of assault and sexual abuse among students, according to a statement released by the boys private school on Thursday afternoon.

Principal Greg Reeves and President Jefferson Thompson, the school's president, resigned to allow the Catholic school to move "without distraction and allow it to focus on healing and change after the terrible events," said St. Michael & # 39; s. the statement.

"Greg Reeves and Br. Thompson have always put the well-being, education, and training of our students first – and they do it again today," said Michael Forsayeth, chairman of the board.

"This courageous decision allows us to move forward with our goals: to understand how these events could have happened, to restore our community's confidence and to bring cultural change to our school."

I'm not at all surprised to see it end like this.– Jean-Paul Bedard, student of St. Michael

Bill Dunphy, who graduated from St. Michael's 50 years ago, told CBC News that the decision is a "symbolic action" and shows that the board of the prestigious school "really wants to send a signal that it is looking for a decisive action ".

Other former students, who have accused the school of having a "toxic masculinity" culture and called for reform, say layoffs give the school time to address underlying issues in their classrooms.

"I'm not surprised to see it end this way or at least move in that direction," said former soccer colleague Jean-Paul Bedard, who said he had suffered sexual violence during St. Michael's trotting incidents 35 years ago.

"It definitely does not solve the problem, but that allows a potential solution to arrive."

Student Adam Boni, who graduated in 1987, echoed this and noted that it is an important step in transparency.

"This change allows the school to move forward with fresh blood at the helm: new vision and purpose," he said.

Director criticized for dealing with incidents

On Wednesday, the school reaffirmed its support for Reeves and Thompson after some former students asked for the resignation of the administrators and that the teachers who knew of the robberies resigned.

Reeves, who was criticized for not going to the police earlier, defended his actions in an interview with CBC O National host Adrienne Arsenault earlier this week.

He said he did not contact the authorities because the alleged victim did not tell his family about the incident.

On Tuesday night, Reeves said that if he presented the same situation, he would "do exactly the same thing".

Adrienne Arsenault speaks to Greg Reeves, director of St. Michael's College School, after the announcement that the school is launching an investigation to examine "unacceptable behaviors." 3:16

Reeves said he notified police on Nov. 12 when the government received a video of a alleged assault that occurred in a bathroom. That night, school officials said they had received a second video of alleged sexual assault in a locker room.

Toronto police told reporters that Reeves did not denounce the alleged sexual assault until officials, who were contacted by the media, appeared at the school on Nov. 15.

Insp. Dominic Sinopoli, who heads the Toronto police sex crimes unit, said the school should have reported the incident immediately.

The St. Michael's College School in Toronto is at the center of a scandal that unfolds. (Paul Smith / CBC)

In Ontario, the Ministry of Education requires public school boards to develop protocols with the police, which include incidents in which school principals have a mandatory obligation to contact the police. Suspicion of sexual assault is among these incidents.

However, many of the standards governing public schools do not apply to private schools, including the duty to report suspected sexual assault to the police, said John Schuman, a former student of St. Michael and a lawyer specializing in children's rights and education. law.

Toronto police chief Mark Saunders did not say whether Reeves will be investigated for not alerting the police before he did.

"For me, speculating is unfair," Saunders told reporters on Thursday after a meeting of the Toronto Police Services Council.

Andrew Leung, a former professor of science and physics at St. Michael's, was appointed interim president by the school's board of directors. He has served as pastor and rector of the parishes of Edmonton, St. Alphonsus and St. Clare for the past two years.

Three students from St. Michael's College, on the left, held a brief hearing Monday in Toronto and were released on bail. They will be back in court on December 19th. (Pam Davies / CBC)

Earlier this week, police filed criminal charges against six students in connection with an investigation of gang-related sexual assault.

Police are investigating six cases involving students from the school who teach grades 7 through 12. Some of the incidents were captured on video and shared online. Police and school officials say two out of six cases involve sexual assault.

Sao Miguel also expelled eight students in connection with the allegations. It is unclear if any of the eight are among those who were charged.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Tuesday he hoped the layoffs would lead to a new chapter at the prestigious school and that the new leadership would address the serious problems the allegations brought to light.

Tory called what is happening at school "a real tragedy for everyone involved."

St. Michael's, which is known for its sports programs, has launched a third-party investigation into the current situation and past incidents. School officials expect a preliminary examination to be done through the spring, with further investigation to close this summer.


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