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Lethbridge School Division launches probe into alleged locker room sexual assault

Click to play video: 'Charges laid in alleged Chinook High School sexual assault'
Charges laid in alleged Chinook High School sexual assault
Charges have now been laid following an alleged sexual assault at Chinook High School last week. Police said it involved members of the school's football team. As Jaclyn Kucey reports, four teenagers are facing serious charges. A warning to our viewers, the details of the allegations are disturbing. – Oct 11, 2023

A southern Alberta school division is looking into what conditions may have contributed to four members of a high school football team being charged with the sexual assault of a teammate.

In a statement posted to its website this week, the Lethbridge School Division said it’s trying to find if there was a root problem.

“The school and division have been engaged in not only investigating the incident that occurred, but also the current and past conditions that may have contributed to this incident,” said the statement.

“We have enlisted the help of Kevin Cameron from the Centre for Trauma Informed Practices to assist us with this process and response. Cameron is an internationally recognized expert in trauma response.”

The accused, who are 16 and 17, have been charged with sexual assault with a weapon, assault with a weapon and forcible confinement. Police are not saying what weapon officers found in a search of the school, as the case is before the courts.

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The four accused cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

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Police allege a 16-year-old boy was assaulted in the school’s locker room after regular school hours on Oct. 3.

The four suspects were arrested and released from custody on conditions which include not having contact with the complainant or attending the school.

All football activities were also suspended, but the school division said the team could resume some activities this week, including practice and wellness support and addressing underlying conditions that may have allowed such an assault to happen.

The school division said some members of the team have been targeted for harassment.

“We understand that serious and traumatic events such as this trigger feelings of anger and frustration,’ it said.

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“We ask that all stakeholders refrain from directing these feelings toward members of the football team and members of our school communities. Harassment of any kind is not acceptable.”

The accused are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 25.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2023.

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