TORONTO — Six teens have been arrested and charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault at an all-boys private school in Toronto, police said Monday as they warned additional charges could follow an investigation into other incidents.
Police said five teens, accompanied by their parents or lawyers, turned themselves in to police Monday morning, while a sixth student was arrested on his way to school. They said the investigation continues into three other incidents — one an alleged sexual assault.
Insp. Dominic Sinopoli said the six boys who attended St. Michael’s College School each faced charges of assault, gang sexual assault, and sexual assault with a weapon in connection with an incident that allegedly took place on campus and was captured on video.
“We have reason to believe there are more incidents and more videos,” Sinopoli told a news conference.
The school said it supported the decision by police.
“We believe charges are absolutely appropriate in these circumstances,” the school said in a statement. “We will continue to work in full co-operation with the police as they continue their investigation and we are at their disposal.”
St. Michael’s, a Roman Catholic School that teachers grades 7 to 12 and is known for its athletics program, expelled eight students and suspended another one on Wednesday in connection with the alleged sexual assault in a locker room and another incident that police said involved hazing and was also captured on video.
Police sources have said the locker room incident involved a group of students on the football team pinning down another student in a locker room and allegedly sexually assaulting him with a broom handle.
Sinopoli said Monday that the alleged victim is doing OK.
“He has gotten the support he needs and deserves,” he said.
The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, has said the school received the “horrific” video of the alleged sexual assault on Monday but didn’t report it police right away because the alleged victim had not yet told his family about the incident.
Sinopoli said the school should have reported the alleged sexual assault immediately.
He also called on students and any one who was in possession of the video to delete it immediately from their cellphones or other devices as the clips constituted child pornography.
In a statement released Sunday, St. Michael’s said it’s launching an “independent examination” into what it called “underlying attitudes and behaviours inconsistent with its culture and values.”
Reeves said an “external review committee” will be created in the next two to three weeks. He hopes a preliminary examination will be done by spring, with a more in-depth investigation to be completed by next summer.
Liam Casey and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press