TORONTO – A teen pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting two students with a broom at a prestigious Toronto high school as his trial got underway Wednesday.
The former student of St. Michael’s College School faces two counts each of gang sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, and assault with a weapon. The alleged incidents occurred on campus in the fall of 2018.
Four teens have already pleaded guilty in the case.
Court previously heard there were two sexual assaults at the school in 2018 when boys involved with a school football team pinned down two different victims and sexually assaulted them with a broom handle in a locker room.
Det. Const. Daniel Sunghing, with the Toronto police sex crimes unit, and Crown attorney Erin McNamara began the trial by showing a video of the room where one incident is alleged to have occurred on Nov. 7, 2018.
The video, taken by Sunghing’s partner after police began investigating, shows a broom under a bench next to a locker.
“The broom, we believe, is the broom that was used in the events,” Sunghing said.
Police seized the broom and surveillance video, court heard.
That video, played in court, shows football players walking into the locker room at 6:19 p.m. The room, in the school’s basement, has only one way in or out.
The video shows coaches going in a few minutes later and leaving shortly after, Sunghing explained.
Sunghing identified the complainant and a teen he said was the accused walking down the stairs and going into the room at 6:32 p.m.
None of those involved in the alleged attack can be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Police began investigating after being made aware of a video allegedly showing a sexual assault in the locker room. Sunghing said he visited the school with his partner, spoke to the principal and then examined the locker room. He interviewed the first complainant the next day.
Wednesday morning’s proceedings were plagued by technical issues showing the videos, which stalled several dozen times and prompted an early recess.
In October, three teens pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a weapon and assault with a weapon for their roles. They were sentenced to two years of probation.
One of them also pleaded guilty to making child pornography for recording one of the sex assaults – the Nov. 7 incident – in a video that was then shared widely.
Charges against two other students were dropped, while another student received a two-year probationary sentence with no jail time after pleading guilty.