Regina non-profit's founder placed on leave after 'allegations'
Executive director resigned last week amid sexual harassment allegations
Kim Sutherland, the founder and CEO of a Regina non-profit organization that works directly with vulnerable youth, has been placed on leave after "allegations" surfaced.
Street Culture Project board co-chair Joey Tremblay announced the move at a news conference Wednesday.
This follows the departure of executive director Dustin Browne, who resigned from the organization last week after sexual harassment allegations were posted on social media.
Tremblay spoke for less than 10 minutes Wednesday and declined to name names.
Sutherland is also listed as board president for non-profit organization Curtain Razors Theatre. Tremblay is Curtain Razors' artistic director. Tremblay said Sutherland is on leave pending the results of a third-party investigation and would not say if the leave is paid or not.
He said two other staff members are also working remotely and do not have direct contact with youth in care or staff. CBC has confirmed that these employees are director of operations Mike Gerrand and shelter manager Burnie Hall.
"Any individuals involved in the investigation are not physically involved in the day-to-day operations of the organization and are not in contact with youth or staff," he said.
Tremblay would not speak specifically to the nature of the allegations. He did not answer phone calls from CBC.
Browne's resignation follows Instagram allegations
Executive director Browne's resignation came after an anonymous post was made to the Instagram account Survivors Stories Regina. The account was started in response to CBC's investigation into multiple verbal sexual harassment allegations against mental health advocate Jim Demeray stemming from his time in the restaurant industry.
An anonymous Instagram post described "a serial sexual harasser." It did not name Browne, but he directly responded to the post and other people who commented on the post told CBC News it was about him.
The anonymous author wrote that they had worked for a youth organization that serves marginalized, racialized and victimized youth. They said the alleged abuser, "is a trusted figure in the lives of young people, and a powerful influence over those who work for him."
"The organization was then, and remains today, toxic," the anonymous poster wrote, alleging they experienced near-daily sexual harassment at the organization, including commentary by colleagues about their sex life, unwanted touching and groping, unsolicited sexually explicit text messages and belittling comments.
They also alleged that this person was "sexualizing young people, lusting over vulnerable teen girls, and young practicum students."
The post has more than 70 comments that include allegations against numerous Street Culture staff members, including the ones placed on leave. They also include allegations of a toxic workplace.
Tremblay says this is first 'large-scale allegation'
Tremblay said this was the first "large-scale allegation" brought to the board's attention.
He said the board "mobilized immediately" and has since set up a third-party investigation that includes a "secure" website where written complaints can be submitted.
Tremblay said Donna Sigmeth will be looking into the complaints that could arise against staff, volunteers or members of the board. He said she was chosen by a committee made up of members of the board and management at Street Culture Project. Sigmeth is expected to provide her report to the board of directors, which according to Street Culture's website includes Browne's father Darryl Browne.
Tremblay said the board would reserve judgment on allegations until the investigation is complete, which could take three months.
A temporary leadership team has been brought in to manage the day-to-day operations of programs.
- A previous version of this story stated that two Street Culture employees were placed on leave Wednesday. This was due to incorrect information provided at the news conference. In fact, only Kim Sutherland has been placed on leave.Aug 05, 2020 3:34 PM CT