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Three teens were sentenced to two years of probation and 30 hours of community service for assault and sexual assault at St. Michael’s College, an all-boys school in Toronto.
The three incidents took place in 2018 and caused uproar and a nationwide conversation about sexual violence in Canadian schools.
According to CBC, “The three former St. Michael’s College School all pleaded guilty in October to one count each of assault with a weapon and sexual assault with a weapon for three separate locker-room attacks.”
Justice Brian Weagent declined to read his entire decision in front of the crowded court, claiming a fear of being misquoted. The three boys were apparently relieved at the light sentence, hugging their parents and lawyers.
Weagant wrote in his decision that denouncement of the boys’ sexual violence can be “expressed in ways other than by incarceration … These boys were expelled from their school. All faced challenges to get into new schooling. One boy faced threats.
Weagant went on to say that “the media has decided this is the case that requires society’s focus. That fact has added to the shame the boys are feeling … I think it is safe to conclude that these young persons have heard society’s voice loud and clear.”
According to court documents, the incidents involved anal penetration of two victims with a broomstick. Both assaults were recorded, but only one was distributed.
The judge referred to these acts of violent sexual as stemming from a culture of “bullying”:
“I conclude that the criminal behaviour in that locker room was fertilized by an atmosphere in which bullying was part of the normative culture of the three boys being sentenced today,” Weagant wrote.
Two of the convicted boys are 16 years old and the other is 15.
St. Michael’s College released a statement that said: they are praying for “all of the individuals involved and their families.”