Sexual assault charges against Wayne Hankey dismissed after the former professor’s death

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

The sexual assault charges against Wayne Hankey have been formally dismissed, after the former Halifax professor died over the weekend.

The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service said Tuesday that the Crown offered no evidence about the matter during an afternoon proceeding as the accused in the case is deceased, so the charges were dismissed.

The first of his trials was originally scheduled to begin March. 3.

Hankey, who retired from the University of King’s College in 2015, was facing a series of sex-assault charges in connection with alleged incidents in the 1970s and 1980s.

His death was confirmed in a statement released Sunday by William Lahey, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, who said the Halifax school had been “made aware of the death.”

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Lahey went on to say that the independent review process that was established by the university in February 2021 would proceed despite the death of the 77-year-old Hankey.

He said the review “has always been separate from any criminal justice matters”, adding that King’s remains “committed to learning from the findings of this process.”

Hankey was charged last February with one count of sexual assault in relation to a 1988 incident in student housing on the King’s College campus.

Police added another sexual assault charge last April in connection with an alleged assault involving another man in 1982 and added charges of indecent assault in relation to incidents involving a third man that are alleged to have occurred between 1977 and 1979.

Hankey had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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.

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.

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

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.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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