Steve Kirby charged with sexual assault dating back to 2014

Former University of Manitoba jazz professor Steve Kirby has been charged with sexual assault.

Charge laid in June 2018

Steve Kirby retired from the University of Manitoba in June of 2017 and was then fired from Boston's Berklee College of Music in November 2017 after that school learned of the harassment complaints back in Winnipeg. (CBC)

Former University of Manitoba jazz professor Steve Kirby has been charged with sexual assault. 

Winnipeg police confirmed Monday that they were called to investigate a "historic sexual assault" in June 2017. 

Kirby, 62, turned himself in to police on May 9, 2018. He was released on a promise to appear and formally charged with sexual assault on June 22.

The case remains before the courts. 

The allegations were made by a then-19-year-old female student, who told police she was enrolled in the music program at the University of Manitoba when she was sexually assaulted "on multiple occasions" by her professor. Police say the incidents happened between September 2014 and January 2017.

Last week, the University of Manitoba came forward with information that two sexual assault investigations were ongoing against faculty, as well as a sexual harassment complaint against a different faculty member. Two additional faculty members are being investigated for "human rights" issues, for a total of five faculty members being investigated.

University of Manitoba president David Barnard committed to instituting mandatory training for all faculty and staff on sexual violence, consent and power relationships.

"We are committed to due process and to protecting the confidentiality of those with the courage to come forward," Barnard said last week

On Monday, after police released a statement about the charges, university spokesperson John Danakas said "any comment on the investigation would need to come from WPS as this is now a criminal matter." 

"The impetus for the timing of the statement last week, as the president indicated, was to have it made at the beginning of the academic year as students returned to campus," he wrote.

Last February, six female former students of Kirby's went to the U of M administration to allege they had been sexually harassed. 

Kirby left the university in June 2017 after being on leave for six months. He was then hired at Berklee College of Music in Boston. After the college learned of the allegations in Manitoba, they terminated him

U of M's internal investigation found that at least two of the sexual harassment complaints had merit, and Kirby's actions would have created an "intimidating, humiliating or offensive work or learning environment."

Kirby's case is one of two recent reports of an inappropriate relationship between staff and students at the U of M. Last week, a report by the Manitoba College of Physicians and surgeons detailed allegations against Dr. Gary Harding, resulting in a six-month licence suspension.


  • An earlier version of this story said Kirby was charged on May 9, 2018. In fact, he was arrested on that date and released on promise to appear. He was officially charged on June 22, 2018.
    Sep 12, 2018 3:06 PM CT