Calgary

Mount Royal student accused of beating professor will be allowed to complete degree

A student at Calgary's Mount Royal University accused of breaking into a professor's home while naked and brutally attacking her will be allowed to finish his degree this semester after being partially reinstated, according to his lawyer.

Matthew Brown is charged after naked man broke into home and beat professor with broom handle

Former Mount Royal hockey captain Matthew Brown is charged with assault after a naked man broke into a professor's home and attacked her with a broom handle. Brown was originally suspended from MRU but is now allowed to complete his degree through online classes. (mrucougars.com)

A student at Calgary's Mount Royal University accused of breaking into a professor's home while naked and brutally attacking her will be allowed to finish his degree this semester after being partially reinstated, according to his lawyer.

Matthew Brown, 26, is facing charges of assault with a weapon and break and enter after a faculty member — who is in her mid-60s — was beaten with a broom handle during a break-in at her home in January. Her hand was broken and required surgery, and she also suffered torn tendons and severe bruising. 

Brown had been suspended from MRU but following a hearing on Thursday will now be allowed to complete his business degree via online courses.

The family of the victim — who CBC News is not identifying because she fears for her safety — says the university's decision to partially reinstate Brown is reasonable.

"It's about us wanting to focus on our family's healing and he's done enough damage to his own life," said the woman's daughter. "This is not about getting revenge or getting even."

"We are really pleased with the attention to detail and the effort and compassion that Mount Royal put into the process."

On Thursday, a hearing took place at MRU involving a panel of five faculty members, the university's director of security and defence lawyer Kaysi Fagan. 

The group came to a resolution where Brown will be allowed to complete the three classes he needs to obtain his degree but will remain banned from campus. Fagan also praised the university's handling of the situation.

"I have nothing but positive things to say about how Mount Royal handled the process … It's not perfect; we'd love for him to be back on campus, engaged in the community at a level he was previously," said Fagan, who is representing Brown alongside her brother, Sean Fagan.

"He's not going to be able to walk the stage with his cohort but he understands this is the position the panel has come to and he respects that position."

Brown began playing on the Mount Royal team in 2012 and was captain from 2014 until last year. He is currently on bail.

Authorities have said the Mount Royal connection is a coincidence and that the suspect was at a nearby party.

According to the university, there is no indication the victim and accused had ever met or that the attack was targeted.

Police have also said they believe drugs were involved.

Professor's daughter says her mom is recovering well

The woman lives in the southwest community of Springbank Hill.

After hearing what sounded like an explosion — which turned out to be her glass door being smashed — she woke from a deep sleep to find a naked man in her home. She was immediately attacked by the man, who hit her repeatedly with a broom handle, according to her daughter.

The woman was able to escape to a bathroom and she locked herself inside before fleeing to a nearby home, where her neighbours called 911. Brown was arrested shortly after.

The victim's daughter says her mother is recovering well physically, though her cast is "driving her nuts" and she's still working through the emotional "ups and downs."

She is focused on getting back to the job she loves and the students she's "dedicated her life to," says the professor's daughter.

"We feel like everyone involved on all sides of this horrible situation has been focused on the victim and her healing and we appreciate that."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.