The Star reached out to the school’s administration repeatedly for comment on Thursday, but was unsuccessful. Multiple sources have told the Star at least 10 students were expelled.
Read more: Police investigate alleged sex assault at Toronto private school
The police’s comments come as members of the school community are still reeling over the chilling allegations. Current and former students say the disturbing incident is not representative of the school, but at least one has described a toxic culture of bullying at the elite all-boys school.
Police were at the school on Thursday investigating an unspecified threat. They say anyone who has a copy of the video should immediately delete it.
The Star has seen two cellphone videos that were circulated online late last week. In the chaotic 22-second video, a young teenager is squirming as he’s held down by several boys in what appears to be a locker room and is sexually assaulted by two boys with what looks like a broomstick. Someone is heard yelling, “Get it in there,” and “Put it in” and, “Chill, chill, chill.”
The boy, who the Star is not identifying because he is a minor, said staff haven’t given students many details about what transpired.
Former student Kyle Fraser, who’s now studying at Bowling Green University in Ohio, wasn’t shocked by the allegations — just that the videos were posted on social media.
“For kids to be there recording it and not doing anything even though they know it’s not right, it blows my mind,” he said.
Fraser, now 21, attended the school from 2009-2013, for Grades 7 to 10, but left because he was verbally bullied.
He described a culture of “privilege’” and “toxic masculinity,” where “everybody wants to be the best.”
“There are very high egos, especially with it being an all-boys school,” he said.
Michael Nituda, who attended the school between 1994 and 1999 was “aghast” at hearing about the allegations.
“For me (St. Mike’s) was fantastic,” said Nituda, who played basketball and volleyball. “My son is 8 and I was thinking of going the St. Mike’s tradition … Now, I have mixed emotions. I love the school, but (the allegations) are pretty egregious. I’m a little sickened.”
This isn’t the first time the school has made headlines. In 1999 the Star reported on a hazing incident in which five members of the school’s senior football team tied a naked player to a goalpost after a team practice and pelted him with raw eggs. The players apologized to the victim and his family and the team wrote a charter emphasizing the importance of respecting and supporting teammates, coaches and the rules of the game, and denounced any form of initiation.
The Grades 7 through 12 school, run by the Basilian Fathers, a Roman Catholic religious order, is famous for its sports programs and prominent alumni including Dave Keon and Tim Horton. Annual tuition costs are about $21,000.
Cardinal Thomas Collins, who does not oversee the school but is the spiritual leader of Toronto’s two million Catholics, learned of the incidents through recent media reports.
“He is deeply disturbed by the allegations and encourages anyone with information on this situation to work with both the police and school officials as they investigate this further,” said Neil MacCarthy, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Toronto.
D’Arcy McKeown, who attended St. Mike’s for Grades 11 and 12 and graduated in 2005, was shocked to hear what happened, saying the school was always “a very welcoming place.”
“Nothing like this ever happened when I was there,” says McKeown, 31, who played senior football and was on the track team there.
In August 2005, he went to McGill University’s football training camp and found himself, as an incoming freshman, subjected to constant threats by other players.
“Dr. Broom is going to give you a proctology exam,” the older players would say, warning if he didn’t do well, “That’s another inch with Dr. Broom.”
“The fact that they threw it around so freely is what made me truly believe that it was nothing more than a threat, that they were just messing around with us.”
But one night in a squash court, away from coaches and staff, his teammates sodomized him with a broom handle as 30 to 60 players watched and cheered.
McKeown was stunned to learn that what happened to him at McGill, where he successfully pushed for a campus-wide ban on hazing, could happen at St. Mike’s.
“The long-lasting mental impact that these things can have is extremely dangerous, especially at a place where the whole goal is to mold young minds …. It’s utterly shocking that this went on.”
After the McGill incident, McKeown returned to Toronto, and for a few months helped coach football at St. Mike’s. He credits the staff there with helping him get through that difficult period and feeling comfortable enough to play football again, which he eventually did at the University of Toronto.
Given his experience with St. Mike’s, McKeown is hopeful staff there will do its best to help the young victim.
“If he ever needs someone to talk to, I know what he’s going through,” says McKeown. “The most important thing right now is getting that kid to feel safe again.”