Nova Scotia

Former Dal, King's professor charged with sexual assault

Wayne John Hankey, 76, faces one charge of sexual assault for an incident on the Halifax campus of the University of King's College in 1988.

Wayne John Hankey, 76, faces one charge of sexual assault for 1988 incident on Halifax campus

Former professor Wayne John Hankey has been charged with sexual assault. (CBC)

Halifax police have charged a retired professor at Dalhousie University and the University of King's College with sexual assault.

Wayne John Hankey, 76, has been charged for an incident which occurred in student housing on the King's campus in 1988, Halifax Regional Police said in a news release Monday.

Hankey was an employee of King's at the time of the alleged assault, which involved a man. The incident was reported to police in September 2020.

A biography on the website of King's College says Hankey was director of the university's foundation year program from 1972-1978, became an associate professor in the Department of Classics in 1982 and a full professor at Dalhousie University in 1996.

Hankey is scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court at a later date.

Prof. Wayne Hankey is shown in 2014 at a luncheon for students. (Dalhousie University)

In a message sent to King's students, staff and faculty, the university said it will conduct an independent review to "determine the facts and an appropriate response," adding that the review would be respectful of the criminal justice process.

"It is important to state that the university recognizes sexualized violence as a serious issue in society and at King's and we understand it harms members of our college community in many ways," the message from university president William Lahey noted.

The message said Hankey retired from King's in 2015.

Dalhousie University said Hankey, who is retired but was teaching a course on contract this semester, has "agreed to step back from the one course he was teaching at Dalhousie in light of the circumstances."

The university declined to comment further, as the matter is before the courts.

Previous accusation

Hankey was once an Anglican priest, but was deprived of that office by the Church in 1991 after an allegation of sexual abuse by a former student. The Church's ecclesiastical court convicted Hankey on a charge of immorality. Hankey was the University of King's College librarian at the time.

The University of King's College conducted an investigation in 1991 in response to that complaint and suspended Hankey for one year. News reports at the time said Hankey accepted the recommendations in the university's report, but didn't indicate what those recommendations were.

Hankey was once an Anglican priest, but was deprived of that office by the Church in 1991 after an allegation of sexual abuse by a former student. (CBC)

Halifax police spokesperson Const. John MacLeod encouraged anyone who is a victim of sexual assault to come forward.

"We hope that by releasing this information and putting these charges out there, that if there are victims out there that they would come forward and we could help them however we can."

On Tuesday morning, MacLeod said he couldn't divulge whether more complainants had stepped forward since news of the sexual assault charge broke on Monday.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frances Willick is a journalist with CBC Nova Scotia. Please contact her with feedback, story ideas or tips at frances.willick@cbc.ca

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