WINNIPEG — A former instructor at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, who was also a photographer, has been fired after allegations he took nude photos of dancers 25 years ago.
Bruce Monk is under investigation by Winnipeg Police after several victims came forward earlier this year.
“Very strange, it was a total surprise to us,” said Ballet executive director Jeff Herd Thursday, “we were really taken back by this.”
After the ballet was approached by Winnipeg police on January 7th, and told about the nature of the investigation, Monk was placed on paid administrative leave January 8.
But Wednesday, Herd says Monk was let go and he no longer has any association with the ballet.
His photo and bio have been removed from the ballet’s website.
“We made a decision on what we know, what we’ve learned so we’ve parted ways this week,” said Herd.
Maclean’s magazine reports four former dancers allege Monk took nude photos of them, ‘These women say they told police that Monk photographed each of them alone in the late 1980s and early 1990s, either nude or in various states of undress. They say they were under the age of 18 at the time.’
Winnipeg police wouldn’t say much but confirmed they are investigating the allegations.
“We have been involved in an investigation with respect to complaints, it does appear there are multiple complaints,” said Constable Jason Michalyshen.
But the length of time poses some challenges.
“Times have changed, laws have changed, we have to look at all those circumstances with respect on how we move our investigation,” said Michalyshen.
Karen Busby, Law Professor at the University of Manitoba says the law changed about 1987, right around the time these allegations took place.
“So a student, a 17-year old can not consent to sexual activity when someone is a teacher, that became a criminal offence in 19, about 1987 so that makes it tricky in this case,” said Busby.
Meaning before the law changed, as long as there was consent for images to be taken and they were not distributed, it was not a criminal offence.
The ballet credits itself on caring and protecting its young students, students that come from around the world.
“We’ll always look after their safety and well being,” said Herd.