TORONTO — A former student of an all-boys Catholic school in Toronto alleges in court documents that the bullying and sexual assault he suffered at the hands of his schoolmates left him struggling with depression and severe mental health issues.
The details of the incidents alleged to have taken place at St. Michael’s College School last fall are contained in a motion filed in Superior Court this week.
The teen alleges teachers, staff and football coaches at the prestigious private school knew about the incidents, but did nothing.
The teen and his parents, who are not named in the documents, say they plan to file a $1.65-million lawsuit against the school, three former students, the board, the Basilian Fathers who run the institution, the coaches and administration.
The allegations contained in the motion have not been proven in court and those named in the proposed lawsuit have not yet responded.
Police launched an investigation last November into allegations of assault and sexual assault at the school that led to charges against seven teens.
Three of the teens have since pleaded guilty to sex assault with a weapon and assault with a weapon — one also pleaded guilty to making child pornography. Another teen is facing trial next year, while the cases against three others have concluded.
The teen, who is referred to as John Doe, alleges in court documents he was taunted and bullied from September 2018, when the first incident took place, until mid-November when he withdrew from the school.
In one of the incidents, the teen, who was a member of a school football team, alleges he was in the locker room when three teammates grabbed him, pinned him to the floor and pulled down his pants. Then, he claims, the three boys hit his buttocks repeatedly with a broom stick. The incident was captured on cellphone video and shared widely within and outside the school, the documents say.
In mid-October, the teen says he was jumped again in the locker room after practice, pinned down and several students repeatedly inserted a broom handle into his anus. The incident was again filmed, but later deleted at the teen’s request, according to the documents.
After the first incident, the teen says he heard repeated taunts of “John Doe loves broom” while on campus. After the alleged sexual assault, a “John Doe loves broom” music track was shared widely on social media, he says.
The teen’s father says in an affidavit it is “difficult to describe the immense amount of pain, suffering, embarrassment and humiliation” the teen and his family have endured since the incidents. He says his son suffered “months of intense ridicule and taunting.”
The teen suffers from anxiety, depression, emotional trauma and insomnia, according to the documents.
The family is asking court to protect their identities in the upcoming civil suit, and a judge is expected to hear the case on Nov. 4.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2019.
Liam Casey, The Canadian Press