Police are investigating an alleged assault involving students at a prestigious Toronto private school that is believed to have been videotaped.
The Toronto police force’s 13 Division and Child and Youth Advocacy Centre – a specialized unit in the police’s sex-crimes department that looks into issues of child abuse – released a statement late on Wednesday saying they believed a video of the alleged assault was being circulated and should be considered child pornography. They advised anyone in possession of the suspected video to delete it without sharing it.
The warning came after St. Michael’s College School said it expelled multiple students.
“This week, to our shock and dismay, we learned of two incidents that were in clear violation of our Student Code of Conduct,” the midtown all-boys school wrote in a posting on its website on Wednesday afternoon.
Toronto Police Service spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante said the force learned about the alleged assault from “numerous inquiries” from media outlets on Wednesday. Those inquiries were prompted by social-media posts about the incident in question.
St. Michael’s declined to answer questions from The Globe and Mail about why it hadn’t involved police, and how it had spoken to students about what was going on. A spokesperson did, however, confirm that the junior football season at St. Michael’s had been cancelled.
St. Michael’s conducted an internal investigation, the school’s statement said, and met individually with the students involved and their parents. “As a result, swift and decisive disciplinary action has taken place, including expulsions. We are deeply sorry that these incidents occurred.”
The statement noted the school wouldn’t be making any further comment on the case, citing police involvement and privacy issues.
“Because of the fact that there’s young people involved, we can’t release much more information than what we’ve already given,” Ms. Arrogante said, stressing that all events are allegations at this point.
St. Michael’s College has a long history in Toronto, opening in the fall of 1852 to provide a combination of what would now be considered high school and university education. The school moved into its current location at Bathurst Street and St. Clair Avenue West in the 1950s. Now, St. Michael’s students range from Grade 7 to 12, and the school describes its program as “an enriched, Catholic, Liberal Arts education” that aims to filter its students into university.