Three teens plead guilty in Toronto Catholic school sex assault scandal

WARNING: Graphic content may disturb some readers

Three teens plead guilty in Toronto Catholic school sex assault scandal

WARNING: Graphic content may disturb some readers.

Three teens pleaded guilty Thursday in a sexual assault scandal at an all-boys Catholic school that made national headlines last year and sparked a public conversation about hazing and bullying.

The teens, all former students at the prestigious St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, each pleaded guilty to one count of sex assault with a weapon and one count of assault with a weapon. One of them also pleaded guilty to making child pornography.

Crown attorney Erin McNamara read out an agreed statement of facts in youth court, saying a member of one of the football teams walked into the locker room after practice on Oct. 17, 2018, and heard a “roar” of teammates chanting “eh.”

The teen tried to run, she said, but “a mob … took him down.”

Three teens held down their teammate and pulled his pants down, while another smacked him on the buttocks with his hand as “people laughed,” McNamara said. Then, she said, the victim had a broom “shoved into his buttocks and anus several times.”

ALSO READ: New charges laid in police probe into incidents at St. Michael’s College School

Another boy captured the incident on video, which was later deleted at the request of the victim, she said.

The three teens were originally charged with sex assault with a weapon in that incident, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault with a weapon.

On Nov. 7, a similar incident occurred after a game once the coaches had left the locker room, the Crown said.

In that incident, another teen, who was not on the football team, came into the locker room looking for a ride home from a friend, McNamara said. About 30 seconds later, someone shut the locker room door.

“Get him,” one of the players yelled, according to the statement of facts. Then the three teens took the victim to the ground and held him as two others ripped off his clothes, tore his underwear apart and flipped him over on to his stomach. Someone then shoved a green broom handle into the victim’s face.

“The crowd around them screamed and yelled,” McNamara said.

One teen then sexually assaulted the victim with a broom handle before another grabbed the handle and also sexually assaulted him.

The victim “struggled and yelled to stop,” McNamara said.

The same teen that recorded the earlier incident captured the entire sex assault on video, court heard, which was shared around the school.

The three teens pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a weapon for that incident.

The school’s administration discovered the video and identified the people involved, the Crown said.

Police said they launched an investigation last fall after they learned about the video.

The Crown also described an earlier incident where one football team member entered the locker room and heard a “chant of boys yelling ‘eh!’” A group grabbed him, put him on the floor and pulled down his pants.

“Get the broom!” someone yelled, said the statement of facts.

“Then someone struck him hard on the buttocks with an object several times,” McNamara said.

The video of the incident “went viral in the school,” she said.

Seven students, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, were eventually charged with assault and sexual assault relating to three incidents involving members of one of the school’s football teams.

The sexual assault and assault charges against a fourth student were withdrawn in August. The cases of two other students accused in the scandal have concluded, but the Ministry of the Attorney General has refused to disclose those outcomes, citing provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The last student facing charges has a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 17.

St. Michael’s said Thursday evening its goal was to ensure the safety and well-being of its students.

“As a community, we continue to pray for the victims and their families and all those involved in these cases,” the statement posted on the school’s website said.

The school is run by the Basilian Fathers, a community of priests with roots dating back to the Congregation of St. Basil in France. The school’s principal and its board president resigned amid criticism of its handling of the case.

An independent committee set up to examine the culture at St. Michael’s found that bullying remained a “systemic” problem despite extensive measures taken by the school in wake of the scandal. It also found that hazing was not a problem.

The committee issued a 123-page report in August that offered 36 recommendations, including developing a comprehensive strategy to address bullying and robust staff training to deal with the issue. The school promised to adopt all the recommendations.

The teens are scheduled to have a sentencing hearing in November.

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said province’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 is steadily declining. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
669 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 21 additional deaths

COVID-19 test positivity rate down to 4.5 per cent

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Alberta RCMP urge rural residents to use online crime reporting

‘Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way’

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

(Photo submitted)
Community Futures brings back Social Media Challenge for 2021

This time the challenge is for non-profits and community groups

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Central Alberta teenager donates filled 20 backpacks to Red Deer Mustard Seed

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County says he ‘just wants to help people’

A conveyor belt transports coal at the Westmoreland Coal Co.’s Sheerness mine near Hanna, Alta., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Coal mining impacts are already occurring in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains even as debate intensifies over the industry’s presence in one of the province’s most beloved landscapes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
As Alberta debates coal mining, industry already affecting once-protected Rockies

UCP revoked a policy that had protected eastern slopes of the Rockies from open-pit coal mining since 1976

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. TC Energy Corp. is planning to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs related to its decision to halt work on its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

Some 200 kilometres of pipe have already been installed for the expansion

Kyla Gibson with her boyfriend Gavin Hardy. (Photo used with permission)
Sylvan Lake couple lose ‘fur babies’ to house fire

‘They were our world and nothing will ever replace them,’ Kyla Gibson said of her three pets

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Most Read