St. Michael’s principal explains why he delayed telling police about video of alleged assault

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The principal of a prestigious private boys’ school at the centre of a criminal investigation said Sunday he held off on promptly informing police about an alleged sexual assault involving students on campus because the victim hadn’t yet told his family about the incident.

Greg Reeves, the principal of St. Michael’s College School, said he received a “horrific” video of the alleged incident on Monday night, but did not inform police until Wednesday morning.

“I assisted him in telling his parents and the following morning – because of my priority in caring for the victim – I shared the video with police,” Reeves said in an interview Sunday evening.

READ MORE: St. Michael’s College launching third-party investigation amid Toronto police probe

Toronto police have said they first heard about the video of the alleged sexual assault at St. Michael’s from the media on Wednesday and immediately contacted the school.

Police sources have said the incident – one of several under investigation – 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.

Those sources have said a previous incident in a washroom involved members of the basketball team bullying a student and soaking him with water.

WATCH: St. Michael’s College reports third “incident” to police







The Roman Catholic school, which teaches grades 7 through 12, has said eight students have been expelled and another was suspended after internal investigations into both cases. On Friday, the school said it had also reported a third incident.

Reeves said the third incident was reported to him by the mother of a student. He said the mother called him on Thursday, and he alerted police the same day. He declined to provide details, citing privacy concerns for those involved.

Reeves said he received another video over email Sunday morning, which he did not view but immediately forwarded to police. It’s not clear whether that video depicts a new incident or one of those already reported.

READ MORE: Violent hazing at Toronto private school goes back decades, says alumnus

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.

He said the review will examine the traditions and social practices of students at every grade level and interviews will be conducted with students, parents, alumni and current and former faculty and staff.

“We hope to make visible what has been invisible,” he said. “We have to do better.”

WATCH: Police investigating multiple ‘occurrences’ of assault, sexual assault at St. Michael’s College School







Reeves said the school will also implement an anonymous tip line in the form of an app, which he hopes will be active in the next few days. He said a social worker will also be hired in the “next couple of weeks,” but added that those affected by the recent incidents are being “supported and cared for.”

He said the junior football team program has been cancelled for the school year, and all sports programming at St. Michael’s been “postponed” until Wednesday. He declined to provide the ages of the students involved in the alleged incidents or say whether they played on any sports teams.

Reeves said legal obligations the school abides by in reporting such incidents fall under the Child and Family Services Act. He said he is not aware of children’s aid services being notified about any incident.

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Which Toronto mayoral candidate is telling the truth about the relief subway line?

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As they vie for Torontonians’ votes, Mayor John Tory and election rival Jennifer Keesmaat are telling two very different stories about the state of what is arguably the city’s most important transit project.

Tory says his administration has done everything it can to advance the relief line, the proposed $6.8-billion subway that would connect downtown to Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) east of the Don River. But Keesmaat accuses the mayor of allowing the project to fall behind schedule, and says she has a plan to speed it up.

Whoever is elected mayor on Oct. 22 could play a large role in how and when the relief subway line gets built.
Whoever is elected mayor on Oct. 22 could play a large role in how and when the relief subway line gets built.  (Bernard Weil / Toronto Star file photo)

The relief line is viewed by many experts as the only effective way to alleviate crowding on the TTC’s overburdened subway system, and whoever is elected mayor on Oct. 22 could play a large role in how and when it gets built.

So which candidate is right? Is the project on track under Tory’s leadership, or has it been delayed? The Star fact-checked the pair’s claims and found neither Tory’s nor Keesmaat’s assertions are completely backed up by the evidence.

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While early design and engineering work for the line is underway, construction has not yet begun.

In April the TTC board awarded $31 million worth of design contracts for stations and systems like track work, traction power, and signalling. Contractors are also conducting drilling and coring along the proposed route in order to gather geotechnical data.

This work will support construction of the line, but the subway is not yet being built.

Is the relief line delayed?

Keesmaat’s campaign has said that under Tory, the relief line has “fallen 18 months behind schedule” and “preliminary design work … is already two years delayed.”

The basis for the claim is a report council approved in June 2014 that projected a joint city and TTC study of the relief line route and station locations, called a “project assessment,” would be complete by early 2016.

The campaign says that because the city didn’t complete a key planning document called an “environmental project report” until August 2018, there has been a substantial delay.

However, the 2014 document didn’t set a firm deadline for completing the environmental project report, and city staff did recommend a route and station locations for the relief line to council in July 2016, only slightly behind schedule. That appears to undermine Keesmaat’s claim Tory allowed the project to stagnate for years.

Approval of the relief line route was delayed, but not for the reason Keesmaat’s campaign cited. Although staff recommended council endorse a proposed route at its July 2016 meeting, amid local residents’ concerns about disrupting the residential neighbourhood along Pape Ave., councillors voted to study shifting the subway to run beneath Carlaw Ave. for part of the route instead.

In May 2017, almost a year after staff first recommended a route, council approved the new Carlaw alignment. Both Tory and Keesmaat, who was the city’s chief planner at the time, endorsed the switch to Carlaw.

Is the relief line funded?

No.

Tory has said of the city’s transit plan that different levels of government “are proceeding with it and paying for it.” However, while the federal and provincial governments pledged in March to spend $9 billion on Toronto transit, that money will be spread between several projects, and according to a city spokesperson, “the city has not entered into a formal agreement with the province for the allocation of the funds.”

As part of an agreement Tory has claimed credit for, in 2016 the province pledged $150 million for design and engineering of the relief line.

Is it possible to speed up construction of the relief line?

Keesmaat says she could accelerate the construction of the relief line by three years, which would require finishing the subway by 2028. To accomplish this she would start property acquisition required for the line’s construction, commence utility relocation, and shortlist companies to build the project all while the current design work is still ongoing.

According to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross, initial outreach and public notifications for relief line property acquisitions have already begun, and the design work that is currently underway “is required to identify” where utility relocations may be required.

He suggested it wouldn’t be possible to start shortlisting companies to build the line at this point because work to determine the design and engineering requirements for the project “must be completed before any (such request) can be issued.”

Did previous administrations do nothing to advance the relief line?

Tory said on Sept. 17 that previous mayors and councils have engaged in “decades of talk” about the relief line, but done “nothing” to advance the project.

It’s true that little progress had been made on the relief line until this current term, but in June 2014, four months prior to Tory’s election, council approved spending $4 million on preliminary planning and the project assessment for the relief line. The vote paved the way for the current work on the project.

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