Crown seeks 3 months for teen found guilty of sex assault at Toronto private school

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A teen convicted of sexually assaulting another student at a Catholic school in Toronto should face three months behind bars, with prosecutors calling the incident “violent and humiliating” in a court hearing on Friday.

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Meanwhile, the defense argued that the teen should receive a probationary sentence of two years without jail time – like four others who pleaded guilty to the same incident at St. Michael’s College School in 2018.

The juvenile was found guilty in June of gang sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon and assault after thrashing another teenager with a broom handle in the school’s locker room.

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“It was a violent and abusive sexual assault on a young man by a group of people in front of a large group of people,” Crown Attorney Sarah de Filippis told the court.

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During his trial, the accused juvenile testified that he feared that he would become a victim of sexual assault if he did not hold down his friend’s hand on November 7, 2018.

The incident was captured on cellphone video and shared widely on social media before police launched an investigation, sparking a national discussion on the smog in youth sports.

The judge did not accept the contention of the accused juvenile and said that he could have opted not to participate.

No youth involved in the proceedings can be named due to the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Crown said the juvenile victim, a friend of the accused, suffered tremendous harm and “may be suffering from psychological or mental health issues later in life as a result of this incident.”

She said the apology of the juvenile accused in the case was nothing but “superficial remorse”.

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“It was a horrific sexual assault that was captured on video and released to the students,” said Ms. de Filippis.

In October 2018, a juvenile accused in a similar incident against another student faced similar charges. Those charges were dropped earlier this year after the judge found that there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

The defense pointed to a no-jail-time sentence given to four other teens who pleaded guilty to two sexual assaults, and noted that their client was convicted of participating in a sexual assault.

“It cannot be said that he did anything bad,” said Gerry Tomlinson, defense attorney for the accused juvenile.

Mr Tomlinson also took issue with Crown’s description of his client’s level of remorse, pointing to a pre-sentence report by a social worker with a letter of apology to the victim from the accused juvenile.

The court heard, “I feel bad, I apologized, I told her I’m sorry and I can’t forgive enough.”

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“I think about it all the time, I think about it every day, it changed lives forever.”

Mr Tomlinson said his client has done community service, earned a bachelor’s degree on the honor roll and is now enrolled at the university.

“There is ample evidence that allowing this young person to continue on their rehabilitation path will be beneficial to society,” Mr Tomlinson said.

Sentencing is set for November 2.

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