Skip to main content

Winnipeg police say they have charged a former University of Manitoba professor with sexual assault.

Officers say a female student, who was 19 at the time, was allegedly sexually assaulted several times by her jazz professor between September 2014 and January 2017.

Police say Steven Kirby, who is 62, was arrested in May.

Story continues below advertisement

Const. Tammy Skrabek says the case has been before the courts six times in recent months following an investigation that began last year.

The case is to go trial in June 2019.

Skrabek says no further complainants have come forward and police felt safe holding off announcing the charges.

“Investigators were satisfied there was no immediate danger to any other people at the time so we felt safe in doing so,” she said Tuesday.

Skrabek said Kirby turned himself into police at the time of his arrest and is co-operating with investigators.

Kirby’s lawyer, Richard Wolson, declined to comment.

News of the charge comes after university president David Barnard issued an apology last week to students who have experienced assaults or harassment on campus.

Story continues below advertisement

The university says there are currently five investigations at the institution into alleged sexual assaults and harassment, all involving faculty members.

“Incidents of inappropriate behaviour at this university have been reported and investigated over the last few years. Inappropriate behaviour, including sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus is unacceptable, and, quite honestly, I find such conduct to be horrible and appalling,” Barnard said in a statement.

“I am apologizing to students who have experienced such inappropriate behaviour. I am deeply sorry. My promise to you is that we will do everything possible to shape a safe and healthy environment, and we will deal expeditiously with all violations that are reported.”

Barnard also said he discovered that the university issued a letter of employment to Kirby after he left his job in Winnipeg.

“The document provided to Steve Kirby as a letter of employment – that I understood to be a mere chronology of his time at the university – in fact also included an outline of activities and achievements, that, though factual, could be construed as supportive. The inclusion of this material was a mistake that must not be repeated,” he said.

“The letter in no way recommended him for any position. Anywhere.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies