A government inquiry into sexual assault allegations at a high school in Montreal has uncovered a shocking pattern of abuse and mistreatment. According to the inquiry, numerous girls on the school’s basketball team were subjected to sexual assault and harassment by their male coaches. In addition, the team’s coach allegedly turned a blind eye to the abuse and even encouraged it in some cases. As a result of the inquiry, several members of the school’s staff have been fired and face criminal charges. The players who were victimized by this horrific abuse have shown immense courage in coming forward and speaking out. It is hoped that their strength will help to bring about much-needed changes in the way these types of incidents are handled in the future.
According to the Ministry of Education, which initiated an administrative probe into the school last February after three coaches were charged with several sex-related offences, a “notably low level of organizational trust was also identified” at the Saint-Laurent High School.
The government issued a number of suggestions for the Marguerite-Bourgeoys school service center on Tuesday. One of the proposals asked the center to employ an outside company to look into the school’s “environment and incivility.”
Additionally, it demands that schools make bystander intervention training a requirement and that the school’s athletic departments undergo an independent financial audit.
After Montreal police detained the coaches, a parent of two girls on the school’s basketball team talked to CTV News and alleged that the head coach had a history of inappropriate behaviour and that the school only addressed it after he was charged.
After the three coaches were detained at the school in the Saint-Laurent neighbourhood of Montreal in February, the police department begged for further complainants to come forward. According to court documents, the accused’s alleged offences started in 2010 and lasted for over ten years at the institution.
The ministry stated in a press release that “the government promises to act on the proposals and to monitor their application in the network.” No more statements will be made in order to protect the integrity of the current criminal investigation and advance community reconciliation.
The school service centre stated in a written statement that it will adopt suggestions in response to the government’s findings on Tuesday, adding that “we will spare no effort to guarantee that it fulfils expectations and embodies the principles of respect and dignity.”