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Halifax professor charged after investigation into 1980s sexual assault

Retired professor Wayne John Hankey is facing more historical sexual assault charges. Global News file

Halifax Regional Police have charged a professor in relation to a sexual assault that police say occurred in student housing in 1988.

Wayne John Hankey, 76, has been charged with one count of sexual assault for an incident that is alleged to have occurred while he was a professor at the University of King’s College.

The incident was reported to police in September 2020.

HRP says it is not releasing any further details to protect the privacy of those involved.

Read more: ‘Making a change’: N.B. announces roundtable for sexual violence on campus

King’s sent a letter out to the community shortly after the charge was announced on Monday.

“Hankey retired from King’s in 2015. Like other retired professors, he is an Inglis Professor,” the letter read.

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“While we respect the process of the criminal justice system, we also acknowledge the courage of those who step forward to make a complaint to the police — and of everyone who steps forward with their experiences.”

Signed by university president William Lahey, King’s will be “conducting an independent review to determine the facts and an appropriate response.”

A letter signed by University of King’s College president William Lahey says an independent review will be conducted after a retired professor was charged with sexual assault on campus.

Dalhousie University says Hankey is a retired classics professor at the university, though he was teaching one course. The university says he is stepping away from that course as a result of the charge.

“We can confirm that Dr. Wayne Hankey is a retired professor who has agreed to step back from the one course he was teaching at Dalhousie in light of the circumstances,” said Dalhousie University spokesperson Janet Bryson in an email.

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“We will respectfully limit further comment given this matter is before the courts.”

Both Dalhousie and Kings say they have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual violence on campus and encourage any survivors to come forward.

Read more: Mount Allison student speaks out against university sexual violence conduct

Halifax police say Hankey will appear in court at a later date to face the charge.

“We encourage anyone who is the victim of sexual assault to contact police,” HRP said in the release.

“We want victims to know they will not be judged, and will be treated with compassion, dignity and respect throughout the entire investigative process.”

More information on reporting sexual assault to HRP is available here.

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