Winnipeg high school football coach charged with sexually assaulting 5 former students
'He groomed them,' Winnipeg police constable says
A Winnipeg high school teacher is accused of sexually assaulting five former students and football players he coached at Vincent Massey and Churchill high schools starting about 18 years ago, police say.
Kelsey Albert Dana McKay, 51, was arrested and charged with five counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual exploitation, four counts of luring and one count of sexual interference. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
"He groomed them," Winnipeg Police Service Const. Dani McKinnon said at a Wednesday news conference. "I wouldn't be surprised if after this … that sex crimes [unit] may receive additional phone calls."
McKinnon said the sex crimes unit was contacted this month by five adults who alleged McKay sexually assaulted them between 2004 and 2011, while they were students and played football for Churchill and Vincent Massey.
They told police he sexually assaulted them while he was teaching physical education and coaching football, first at Churchill and later at Vincent Massey. Most of the assaults are alleged to have happened at McKay's home, McKinnon said.
McKinnon confirmed McKay is still a teacher at Vincent Massey.
He was released with conditions after being charged.
Vincent Massey is in the Pembina Trails School Division and Churchill is in the Winnipeg School Division. Both divisions say they are co-operating with investigators.
Placed on unpaid leave
Ted Fransen, Pembina Trails division superintendent, notified parents and students about the arrest and charges Wednesday, one day after the division was notified.
McKay is currently a Vincent Massey teacher and has been placed on unpaid administrative leave, Fransen wrote in an email.
He will not be allowed on school property.
"We want to assure the Massey community that we will act as quickly as possible to respond to any developments from this matter and support our students and staff," Fransen's statement says.
A Winnipeg School Division spokesperson says police notified the division Wednesday morning.
"WSD strongly advocates for safe and caring schools and the well-being of our students, and news of this alleged breach of trust is devastating within our school community," Radean Carter, a school division spokesperson, said in an email.
Winnipeg School Division superintendent of education Celia Caetano-Gomes also said the division is reaching out to families of Churchill High School students to connect them with clinical support services for their children.
"The circumstances of this arrest continue to be under investigation. However, we are deeply concerned for the health and wellness of all of our students," Caetano-Gomes said in a statement to parents.
Conditions of McKay's release
As a condition of his release, McKay can't continue to work or volunteer "in a position of trust or authority" over someone under 18.
McKay must continue to live at his current home address and isn't allowed to leave Manitoba without approval from a judge.
He also isn't allowed to use any password protection, encryption or "computer wiping software" that could get in the way of investigators' searches of his electronic devices.
McKay has been ordered not to contact any of the complainants and isn't to have any contact with anyone under the age of 18.
Court documents say McKay also can't go to any park or public swimming pool where minors are present. The same extends to daycares, schools, playgrounds and community centres.
McKay is barred from coaching or other involvement in football, according to court documents.
If he violates any conditions McKay will have to pay a $500 fine, the court documents say.
'A terrible, terrible thing': Football Manitoba
Football Manitoba executive director Bill Johnson said his first reaction to the news was one of concern for the survivors.
"It's just a terrible, terrible thing," he said. "There are people who will always find ways to do this sort of thing, but we do everything we can to try and make this environment in youth sport as safe as possible."
Johnson said Football Manitoba signed on to the responsible coaching pledge through the Coaching Association of Canada, which outlines safeguards meant to protect those under 18.
That includes "the rule of two" that states a coach should never be alone with a child.
Football Manitoba's background screening policy also prevents people with criminal records from being involved in minor football, said Johnson.
"Any sort of violence against children, those people will never be allowed to coach," he said.
'Very brave survivor'
McKinnon says McKay forged relationships beyond what is typically expected of coaches and teachers.
"He's a person in position of trust and then this relationship begins in that fashion and, unfortunately, it breaches those lines," she said.
There is always a possibility other people will come forward, given McKay has a "long-standing tenure in the football community," she said.
McKinnon lauded the former players for coming forward, including the individual who provided details of the oldest count in the investigation, from 2004.
"A very brave survivor came forward," she said.
Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to call 204-986-6245.
Support for survivors and others is available through the Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 204-786-8631, or through Winnipeg police victim services at 204-986-6350.