ANTIGONISH: The RCMP is investigating sexual assault accusations at StFX University and wants victims and potential witnesses to come forward.
Last Friday, the RCMP confirmed it is investigating allegations of sexual assault following a complaint made by an 18-year-old woman on November 22.
The assault occurred on the StFX campus during the weekend of November 18-19. RCMP arrested two men on the evening of November 22 in connection with the complaint.
“It came to our attention on [November 19],” said Andrew Beckett head of student services and vice-president of finance for StFX. “The victim worked with our university staff during the early part of the week and was provided support and given information in terms of options that she had in terms of reporting and disclosure in relation to the incident. She chose to complete a formal report with the university and concurrent with that to also file a report with the RCMP.”
Beckett stated that the university’s policies and practices are very strong when it comes to such reports.
“The fact that the victim went to the RCMP was not out of concern at all with the university’s response to it,” Beckett noted. “In fact, I think we’ve been working with the victim and still do work with the victim very closely. She chose to go with the RCMP because she felt that her situation warranted legal proceedings and not just the university’s proceedings that we would go through.”
During the course of the investigation, another victim, a 19-year-old woman, has come forward and alleged that one of the accused in this incident sexually assaulted her on two separate occasions on campus, one in September and one in November.
Charges have been laid against a 19-year-old Halifax man for three counts of sexual assault. He is scheduled to appear in Antigonish Provincial Court on January 10. Charges are pending against an 18-year-old Truro man, and he is scheduled to appear in Antigonish Provincial Court on January 24. Both men have been released on conditions.
The RCMP has ensured that both victims have access to supports provided by Victim Services. Investigators are reaching out to the community as they believe there may be additional victims.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual assault, or a witness to the crime, is asked to contact Antigonish District RCMP at 902-863-6500, or 1-800-803-RCMP (7267). In addition, victims can contact the Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Centre in Antigonish at 902-863-6221, or StFX Health and Counselling Centre Services at 1-902-867-2263.
The investigations are ongoing.
While the RCMP is investigating, Beckett added that StFX will support law enforcement and conduct an internal investigation of its own.