RCMP investigating sexual assault allegations against Whitehorse student
Police confirmed investigation underway after Facebook post leveled accusations against male student
The Yukon RCMP is investigating allegations that a student at F. H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse has been sexually harassing or assaulting his peers.
Police spokesperson Sandy Watson on Monday confirmed to CBC the existence of the investigation, but said he would not provide any details.
The confirmation comes after a Facebook post was shared to at least one Whitehorse-based group on May 6 alleging a male student had sexually harassed or assaulted several female students at the school. The post also alleged school staff were ignoring or dismissing complaints about the situation.
Watson said police are now also investigating the post.
Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act prohibits anyone from publishing the identity of a youth suspected or charged with a crime, as well as any information that could reveal the youth's identity.
F.H. Collins principal Jay Thomas did not respond to a request for comment. However, in a May 9 email to parents obtained by the CBC, he wrote that the Facebook post was written by a "former graduate" of the high school and that adults "started to make threats of violence" toward the student at the centre of the allegations.
"I must note that the posts contained untruths, gossip, and half-truths," Thomas wrote, although the email did not specify which parts of the post he believed were untruthful.
According to the email to parents, the school's administration team met with the RCMP, the school superintendent, director of student services and the assistant deputy minister of schools the morning of May 7 to "review [the] incident and to plan for next steps."
Those steps included having a counsellor reach out to the student targeted in the post, having the RCMP contact the poster to "inform them of potential ramifications of making such [a] post," and having the department of Education's communications team "formulate a communication to go to the public," Thomas wrote.
Staff were informed of the situation at two separate meetings, he continued, and the family of an alleged victim also contacted the school. Thomas wrote that more information would be shared at a school council meeting on Tuesday.
Yukon's department of Education did not make anyone available for an interview. In an email on Tuesday, spokesperson Erin MacDonald wrote that the department could not comment on the case for legal reasons but "condemns all forms of sexualized violence and works with authorities to ensure that all reported incidents are investigated and followed up through the school and all appropriate authorities and agencies."
The school is also working on supporting students, she wrote, and a letter with a list of community resources and supports, including contact information for victim services and the Kids Help Phone, was sent to parents on May 7.