Two men facing sexual assault allegations on St. F.X. campus
RCMP say complainants in two separate incidents knew the accused, believe there may be more victims
RCMP in Antigonish, N.S., are investigating a series of alleged sexual assaults on the St. Francis Xavier University campus this fall.
Police say an 18-year-old woman contacted them on Nov. 22 saying she had been sexually assaulted on campus over the weekend.
Two men were arrested in connection with the case.
RCMP say during the investigation, a second 19-year-old woman came forward and alleged one of the men under investigation had also sexually assaulted her on two separate occasions on campus — once in September and once in November.
Police say both complainants knew both the men accused. Investigators believe there may be other victims, according to Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.
"If a person believes they might have been a victim of a sexual assault or a witness to a crime [they are] encouraged to contact us," she said.
A 19-year-old Halifax man is facing three charges of sexual assault.
Charges connected to the original complaint are pending against an 18-year-old Truro man.
St. F.X. is carrying out its own separate investigation, said Andrew Beckett, the vice-president of finance and administration and head of student services.
Beckett said the university became aware of last weekend's alleged assault when the 18-year-old woman came forward to the university on Nov. 19. The incident happened in a campus residence.
"Our first priority was dealing with the victim to make sure that she had the proper supports and was made aware of our sexual violence policy and the reporting options that she had available to her," he said.
"After a couple days she decided that she did want to proceed with a formal report with the university and also concurrent with that, wanted to also do a report with the RCMP."
Beckett said the university was not aware of the second victim until the RCMP report Friday. She has not come forward to the university.
Beckett said the university is not aware of any other incidents of sexual violence but is encouraging any other victims to report and seek support.
One man banned from campus
All four of the people involved are students at the university.
In light of the sexual assault charges, Beckett said the 19-year-old man facing three charges has been temporarily suspended from the university.
"So he's not allowed on campus property and not allowed to continue with his classes on campus. The second individual, he's allowed on campus but only to attend classes," said Beckett.
Beckett said the woman who came forward is continuing academic studies and the university has made accommodations to help her.
"That's part of the support that we've been providing to her to make sure that she's got all kinds of options so that she can comfortably proceed with her courses," he said.
"From the university's standpoint, we absolutely do not tolerate any forms of sexual violence or sexual assault. We have a policy in place on this."
Both men have been released on conditions, and are scheduled to appear in Antigonish provincial court in January.
An email obtained by CBC News was sent to students Friday evening offering support services.
"The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff are our top priority," reads the email, signed by director of student life Jacqueline De Leebeeck and director of health and counselling Margie McKinnon.
Police say victims can contact the Women's Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Centre in Antigonish at 902-863-6221, or St. F.X. Health and Counselling Centre Services at 1-902-867-2263.
With files from Shaina Luck