StFX disciplines students accused of sexual assault

ANTIGONISH: A local university imposed measures on two students accused of sexual assault.

“As a result of reports filed with the university by the survivor and charges laid by the RCMP, the university imposed immediate interim measures on the two students pending completion of our internal investigation,” stated Andrew Beckett, head of student services and VP of finance. “In both cases, these interim measures include denial of all student privileges. This includes no participation in any athletics programs.”

A release from Antigonish RCMP stated they are investigating an allegation of sexual assault following a complaint made by an 18-year-old woman on November 22. The alleged incident occurred on StFX campus during the weekend of November 18-19. On November 22, RCMP arrested two men in connection with the complaint.

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Police also stated another victim, a 19-year-old woman, came 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 of this year.

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, 2018. Charges are pending against an 18-year-old Truro man, and he is scheduled to appear in Antigonish Provincial Court on January 24, 2018. Both men have been released on conditions.

Police confirmed one of the victims reported the incident to the university but wanted further action and took the matter to the RCMP. Police also stated they are working closely with StFX, although it is a police investigation.

StFX officials would not address rumours the accused were members of the football team. When contacted for comment, football coach Gary Waterman said all inquiries on the matter are to be directed to StFX Athletic Director Leo MacPherson, who did not return a request for comment as of press time.

“Also, one of the accused has been denied access to campus,” stated Beckett. “The other has been granted restricted access to campus, only permitted to attend classes. It is important to note that arrangements are being made to allow continuation of course work remotely. Any further sanctions on these students will be determined through the discipline process detailed in the university’s community code.”

Beckett added the university adopted a sexual assault policy in September 2016, which he described as “victim-centric.”

“The entire community has been informed of health and counseling services should they need them,” stated Beckett. “The university’s own investigation is continuing.”