July 24th, 2024

Rest of football season over at Alberta high school after alleged locker-room assault

By The Canadian Press on October 24, 2023.

The season is over for a Lethbridge high school football team where four players were charged with the sexual assault of a teammate. A Lethbridge Police arm badge is pictured in Lethbridge, Alta., on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – The season is over for a Lethbridge high-school football team where four players were charged with the sexual assault of a teammate.

All football at the high school was initially suspended and now the Lethbridge School Division says the rest of the season is cancelled for that team.

“We would like to emphasize that the players and coaches have done everything that was asked of them since the incident happened and have been highly engaged in learning from this experience,” said the statement posted Monday.

“School administration has worked diligently in response to the incident as well and was supportive of a return to play if possible.”

But after a consultation with a trauma expert, the division determined more time is needed.

“We have come to understand that we need more time to evaluate and respond to the impact this incident is having on our school community,” the division said.

“Given this, it was our view that we are not ready to return to play.”

Police allege a 16-year-old boy was assaulted in the school’s locker room after regular school hours on Oct. 3.

The accused, who are 16 and 17, have been charged with sexual assault with a weapon, assault with a weapon and forcible confinement. They are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. The four accused cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The four suspects were arrested and released from custody on conditions, which include not having contact with the complainant or attending the school.

The school division said some members of the football team have been targeted for harassment and that is unacceptable.

“We have all been deeply impacted by the distressing nature of the recent incident “¦ and the severity of the criminal charges,” it said.

“This has been an incredibly difficult time for students, staff, the school community “¦ and the division as a whole. Our students and student-athletes should expect to be safe in our schools.”

– By Bill Graveland in Calgary

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2023.

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