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Wayne Hankey, former Halifax professor facing sexual assault charges, dies prior to trial

Wayne Hankey was facing sexual assault charges stemming from the ’70s and ’80s and was scheduled to go to trial this year, with the first matter set for March 3. . Global News file

A former University of King’s College professor who was facing multiple sexual assault charges stemming from the 1970s and 80s has died, the university has confirmed.

In a statement, President and Vice-Chancellor William Lahey said the university had been made aware of Wayne Hankey‘s death.

“We extend our condolences to his family,” Lahey wrote.

Read more: Former Halifax university professor facing more sexual assault charges

He went on to clarify that the independent review process established by the university in February 2021 will proceed. Lahey noted the process has always been separate from any criminal justice matters.

Hankey, 77, was set to go to trial this year on criminal charges of sexual assault, indecent assault and gross indecency involving three separate male complainants.

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He was first charged in February 2021 with one charge of sexual assault relating to an incident in student housing back in 1988. That particular incident was reported to police in September 2020.

In April 2021, investigators further charged Hankey in connection with an 1982 incident with a second man, and incidents between 1977 and 1979 involving a third complainant.

Read more: University of King’s College begins review of retired professor charged with historical sexual assault

Hankey pleaded not guilty to all charges and was scheduled to go to trial this year, with the first matter set for March 3.

Hankey was a classics professor who taught at King’s College and Dalhousie University. Although he retired from King’s College in 2015, he was still teaching one course at Dalhousie when he was first charged in 2021.

At the time, Dalhousie said Hankey had “agreed to step back from the one course he was teaching at Dalhousie in light of the circumstances.”

According to the terms of reference, the King’s College review will determine the facts in 1988 that led to the charge against Hankey, determine the impact on those affected, whether anyone in a position of authority and responsibility had knowledge of these facts and what was done about it.

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The university has previously said Hankey was disciplined by King’s in 1991 following an internal inquiry by a university committee. He returned to the university after a one-year suspension.

The university also said that the disciplinary committee’s report could no longer be located.

— With a file from The Canadian Press

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