Youth accused of sexual assault
Pembroke Daily Observer
27 July 2008
Posted By AEDAN HELMER, SUN MEDIA
The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board said police and child welfare officers investigated incidents in a boys’ washroom four years ago, but did not lay charges at the time.
Monday that changed, when a former student of St. James Catholic School in Eganville was charged, two months after Killaloe OPP officers reopened the investigation.
The youth, whose identity is protected, is accused of waiting in a washroom and sexually assaulting young boys.
The board said yesterday details of the case were initially disclosed to Family and Child Services and OPP but “this investigation did not result in any charges.”
But after a student safety presentation delivered several months ago, the board said more students came forward with abuse allegations.
“Subsequently, a staff member at the school received additional student disclosures regarding the 2004-05 incidents in the school washroom,” reads the board statement. “These disclosures were immediately reported to FCS and the OPP.”
The police investigation was reopened and charges were laid.
Principal Clint Young communicated with parents of male students in the affected age group “to apprise them of the impending investigation and to advise them that school officials would be co-operating fully with the ensuing police investigation.”
Counselling services are also available for those students and families who have been affected.
The board also said a general parent meeting planned for September will review school safety practices and procedures and will ensure that counselling remains available.
The school instituted several procedures during the 2004-05 academic year, when the incidents were alleged, aimed at separating older and younger students.
The school designated a second floor bathroom to older students, instituted the “buddy system” for students who used the bathroom during class, and required older students to use the bathroom before recess and lunch breaks.
Only younger students were allowed in the school to use bathrooms during breaks.
In the statement, officials said the board “acknowledges the seriousness of the incident and is working to support parents and students and regrets any impact these incidents may have had on our students.”
Board chairman Andy Bray said “the safety of our students is our utmost priority and we will endeavour to ensure that our students are protected and cared for.”
Article ID# 1098219
Joyce Officials first investigated alleged assaults three years ago
Initial probe of Eganville school didn’t result in charges
03 July 2008
Allegations about inappropriate conduct in the washroom of an Eganville elementary school that this week resulted in sexual assault charges against a former pupil were investigated by the OPP and child welfare authorities more than three years ago, but didn’t result in any criminal charges, according to the school board.
In a statement yesterday, the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board said a “disclosure” was made to officials at the Bonnechere Valley school during the 2004-2005 school year regarding incidents in a boys’ washroom.
The school board said the disclosure was immediately reported to Family and Children’s Services and the OPP, but the subsequent investigation did not result in any charges. The school board did not elaborate on what was included in the original disclosure.
But on Monday, the OPP charged a former pupil of St. James Catholic school in Eganville in connection with the alleged sexual assault of four young males.
The charges followed a two-month investigation, police said.
The accused cannot be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
According to the school board, the most recent investigation was launched after a staff member at the school received new disclosures about the alleged sexual assaults during an in-class streetproofing and safety presentation held earlier this year.
While police were releasing few details about the alleged incidents, parents of boys interviewed by police told the Citizen that the accused, who was in a senior grade at the junior kindergarten to Grade 8 school, would allegedly lie in wait in the boys’ washroom for Grade 1, 2 and 3 pupils before sexually assaulting them while they used the urinals.
Earlier this week, parents of several of the boys interviewed by police criticized the school board for what they described as a “troubling” lack of communication following the sexual assault allegations.
According to the parents, a planned parents meeting to discuss school safety before the end of the school year was never held and no attempts were made to offer counselling to the affected pupils.
“The school board acknowledges the seriousness of the incident and is working to support parents and students and regrets any impact these incidents may have had on our students,” read the statement.
The school board said changes to the bathroom policy following the 2004-2005 disclosure included the school’s upstairs bathroom being designated for older pupils while the downstairs bathroom for younger pupils.
A buddy system was instituted for pupils who had to use the bathroom during class and the school required older pupils to use the bathrooms before recess and lunch breaks and only allowed younger pupils back into the school to use the bathroom during recess and lunch breaks.
The school board did not say if any disciplinary action was taken against the older pupil who was accused of acting inappropriately during the disclosure more than three years ago.
“The safety of our students is our utmost priority and we will endeavour to ensure that our students are protected and cared for,” said board chairman Andy Bray in the statement.
The parents said the only communication they received was from school principal Clint Young, who apprised them of the ongoing police investigation and the school’s co-operation.
One mother whose son was recently interviewed by police said she was never aware of the earlier disclosure, which the school board said prompted changes to the washroom policy at the school in 2004-2005.
“If there was some concern, it would have been nice to have known,” said the mother, who is not being identified to protect her son.
However, the school board said it has since contacted the parents whose sons were in the age group of the pupils who might have been affected to arrange a personal meeting with them “to address their concerns and to provide counselling services.”
According to the school board, the calls to parents were made at the conclusion of the police investigation.
A general parents meeting is also planned for early September to review the school safety practices and procedures and to ensure that counselling services continue to be available to parents and pupils, the school board said.
Youth charged in Eganville sex assaults
A youth has been charged in connection with the sexual assault of four young pupils in the boys’ washroom of an Eganville elementary school more than three years ago.
By The Ottawa Citizen July 1, 2008
A youth has been charged in connectin with the sexual assault of four young pupils in the boys’ washroom of an Eganville elementary school more than three years ago.
Ontario Provincial Police were releasing few details about the alleged sexual assaults yesterday except to say they occurred in a Bonnechere Valley school during the 2004-2005 school year. However, the Citizen has learned these alleged incidents occurred at St. James Catholic School, a junior kindergarten-to-Grade 8 school in Eganville, about 30 kilometres west of Renfrew.
According to the parents of several of the boys interviewed by police, the accused, who was in a senior grade at the time, would allegedly wait for Grade 1, 2 and 3 pupils in the boys’ washroom and sexually assault them while they used the urinals. The washroom was on the first floor of the school and was only supposed to be used by pupils from Grade 4 and under.
The parents alleged that, to keep the young pupils from talking, the accused would then threaten to hurt or kill them or their families.
The accused has since moved on to high school. His age, and the exact charges he is facing, were not released by police yesterday.
Despite occurring more than three years ago, the parents said the allegations came to light in early May following an in-class streetproofing and safety presentation to students.
While police have only laid charges in connection with four incidents, the Citizen has learned that as many as 18 pupils have been interviewed by police during the two-month investigation.
Parents of some of those pupils expressed frustration at the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board’s handling of the allegations and their aftermath, accusing the board of trying to “brush (the incidents) under the carpet.”
According to the parents, who are not identified by the Citizen to protect the identities of the children involved, the board never offered any counselling for the pupils. Parents said they were also told there would be a meeting to address their concerns about school safety before the end of the school year, which never happened.
“There are all kinds of questions we have, not the least of which is how this could have happened in the first place,” said one mother. “We’re tired of waiting. It’s been two months and we haven’t heard a word.”
Another mother described the lack of communication from the school board since the allegations came to light as “troubling.”
“It feels like we’ve had no support from the school board,” she said.
“There were horrible things being done to some of these kids,” she said, adding it hit her like a “ton of bricks” when she learned her son could be a victim of an alleged sexual assault.
“I expect my kids will be learning in that school and will be safe,” she said.
“They think the threat has left the school,” said a third mother. “(The students) now have to relive it. It’s not going to go away overnight for them.”
Parents said the only official communication they have received from the school was a letter sent out from principal Clint Young on May 12 advising them of a delay in the OPP investigation into “allegations of inappropriate touching at St. James during the 2004-2005 school year.”
Reached at home yesterday, Mr. Young declined to comment.
Renfrew County Catholic District School Board director of education Michelle Arbour also wouldn’t respond to questions about the allegations and the school board’s response to them.
The mother of the accused, who cannot be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, also declined to comment yesterday.
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