More charges in Winnipeg school abuse case

Police have identified 10 additional victims in a disturbing case of alleged sexual abuse at a prestigious Winnipeg school, CBC News has learned.

Police have identified 10 additional victims in a disturbing case of alleged sexual abuse at an elite Winnipeg private school.

Court documents obtained by CBC outline fresh charges against an 18-year-old former boarder at St. John's-Ravenscourt, which is nestled in the city's quiet Wildwood neighbourhood.

In April, the Winnipeg police child abuse unit arrested four students in connection with allegations of sodomy against a younger classmate at the co-educational school.

Four male teens — one 18, one 17 and two 16 years old — are accused of pinning the younger boy on the floor and removing his pants. A walking stick was allegedly held near the anus of the victim and he was threatened with penetration.

All four teens were charged with sexual assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and uttering threats. Two were suspended indefinitely from St. John's-Ravenscourt and told they could not return, and two others left voluntarily, the school has said.

On Monday, 23 new charges involving 10 more victims, were formally laid against the 18-year-old, court documents show. The alleged victims, who came forward to police, are male and in Grades 8 to 10.

Among the new charges are 10 counts of sexual assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, nine counts of forcible confinement and uttering threats.

The documents suggest the circumstances are similar to those of the first case.

A sweeping publication ban prevents the printing or broadcast of any evidence presented at hearings so far.

Happened over 5 months: documents

Police believe the incidents at the school occurred between Sept. 1, 2009, and February of this year, the documents said.

The 18-year-old, the only one of the four to be charged in adult court, remains free on $10,000 bail. A landed immigrant, he is staying with family friends in Winnipeg after being ordered to surrender his passport. He did not make a personal court appearance Monday. 

The court documents do not indicate whether the three other teens will face additional charges. The case against the 18-year-old returns to court July 15.

In an email to CBC News, St. John's-Ravenscourt headmaster Stephen Johnson said he was considering agreeing to an interview about the new developments but needed to consult the school's board first.

Tuition and other costs range from $30,000 to $40,000 for students who board at the school, which dates back to 1820.

Tuition for day students ranges from $13,000 to nearly $17,000, depending on the grade.