Manitoba

Royal Winnipeg Ballet School worker let go, accused of taking inappropriate photos of students

A longtime employee is no longer working at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, following allegations he was photographing students inappropriately.

Report says school took action after learning employee was under investigation

Police are investigating allegations that an employee took inappropriate photos of students at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. (Wally Santana/Associated Press)

A longtime employee is no longer working at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, following allegations he was photographing students inappropriately.

According to the ballet company, instructor and photographer Bruce Monk was placed on paid leave after the school learned he was under investigation by authorities in January.

Bruce Monk, a former instructor and photographer with the Winnipeg Ballet School, is being investigated by police. (CBC)

"It's nothing we would expect," said Jeff Herd, executive director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

"You know the world we live in here is about dance and our audience, so yes, this was absolutely a shock."

As of Tuesday, Monk no longer had ties to the company.

"Let's put it this way," Herd said when asked if Monk was fired. "We came to a mutual agreement and leave it at that."

Maclean's magazine has alleged the investigation was the result of Monk photographing students at various stages of undress. In the magazine report, Monk offers no comment other than calling the allegations "ridiculous."

The Winnipeg Police Service is consulting with justice officials to determine how to proceed with the ongoing investigation.

"There were multiple victims involved," said Const. Jason Micalyshen on Thursday.

"I'm not aware of any charges at this point."

A former Royal Winnipeg Ballet School dancer, who was photographed by Monk was not aware of any of the allegations at all.

"Never, actually," Lena Wiklund said when asked by CBC News if she had heard rumours about Monk.

"Which is surprising because in the ballet world, especially if you basically live there, you hear everything. And I've never heard even a whispering."

Back at the school, Herd said no current students are involved or included in the investigation, and that the school's priority is the safety and well-being of students, staff and patrons. 

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