Three teens plead guilty in Toronto Catholic school sex assault scandal

WARNING: Graphic content may disturb some readers

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

A thousand expected for Hitched wedding and event affair

This year Hitched is happening at the Comox Community Centre.

Darcy Sharpe wins first place in men’s snowboard slopestyle at Winter X Games

The two-time Olympic slopestyle bronze medallist is among 31 Canadians competing

Comox Community Baptist Church celebrates 40 years

“For the Lord is good and His love endures forever: His faithfulness… Continue reading

Famed brother, Africa inspire Comox artist Monica Meyer Huisamen

She already sold several works since this week’s opening at Milano

Decor details: Professional rental and design businesses deliver it all

Stop by the Comox Community Centre today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.!

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for the week of Jan. 21

Bouquets to and from the Adopt-a-Grandparent program; beef to people setting off fireworks

Kobe Bryant killed in California helicopter crash: reports

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

Most Read