Montreal police investigating after students allege sexual assaults at high school

Students at a Montreal-area high school who say they were sexually assaulted, allegedly by the same male student, are accusing the school’s administration of failing to take the situation seriously.

Some of the alleged assaults at Des Sources High School in Dollard-des-Ormeaux date back to last fall, two complainants told CTV News, who also say there is a third student who went to the police last week to report another recent assault in a school bathroom.

CTV is not naming the two girls to protect their identities since they are minors.

A 14-year-old girl said the male student, also a minor, pinned her against a wall in a hallway during the lunch hour one day last October and pulled her pants as he tried to kiss her.

“I was very uncomfortable. And I told him several times if he can stop and stuff because I really don’t want to do anything,” she said in an interview.

“I didn’t want him to be my first kiss. And also he had a girlfriend and it was just disrespectful towards her. And I told him, ‘No, don’t. No, no’ multiple times.”

She said she reported the incident to the school’s principal but said she was told to keep the incident to herself.

“She specified not to tell anyone and… if I did tell anyone, I’d get suspended,” she recalled.

Her attacker was suspended for three days last month “after they found out what he did to my friend,” according to the 14-year-old girl. “For me, they didn’t do anything.”

Her friend, whom CTV was not able to reach, contacted Montreal police last Friday, she said.

When asked about the allegations of sexual assault at the school, Montreal police confirmed in an email Monday afternoon that they are “investigating events that allegedly took place at Des Sources High School, in collaboration with school authorities.”

The girl said she felt discouraged by her experience of going forward to the school with her complaint, saying officials were more concerned about protecting the school’s reputation than about addressing sexual violence.

“And when it comes to sexual assault, or rape, or anything similar to that you’re usually supposed to speak out, because I’m a minor and he’s a minor and it’s still wrong at a young age,” she said.

“I just found it shocking because they didn’t really do anything about it.”


Another student, who is 12 and no longer goes to Des Sources, said the male student invited her to a staircase near the back of the school one day, also sometime around last October, where she said he forced her to touch and kiss him and “started to bend me over against my will.”

“I was telling him to stop and he wouldn’t stop,” she said. “He would just say, ‘Just continue. It won’t hurt. Just continue. You’ll like it.'”

She added that she “made it very clear” she did not consent and told him to stop “multiple times.”

“I was overwhelmed, I was confused, and I was scared,” she said.

She, too, feels like the school isn’t well-equipped to address sexual violence.

“They wouldn’t handle it,” she said. “They’ll say they’ll talk about it. They’ll talk to the parents but they won’t do anything.”

The Center de services scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys did not answer specific questions from CTV last week about how many reports of sexual assault there are at Des Sources and if they are being investigated.

Annie Bourassa, a spokesperson for the service center, said it “cannot comment on our students’ files” but said it has a “clear protocol” to deal with sexual violence.

“This protocol stipulates that we communicate without delay with the Direction de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) in order to inform them of the situation and we do the same with the Service de police de la ville de Montréal (SPVM),” Bourassa wrote in a written statement.

“Following their analysis of the situation, we ensure that all necessary measures are taken to protect and support the potential victim. The alleged aggressor is automatically suspended from school for an indefinite period of time and the decision to reintegrate him or her is based on the conditions issued by our expert partners.”


However, such protocols become “meaningless” if they aren’t applied in real-life situations, according to Tanya D’Amours, vice-president of the Sexual Health Network of Quebec.

“I haven’t spoken to these people, but it would be very disappointing, and I think a really large missed opportunity and an injustice to those people coming forward who have had those stories, because it doesn’t feel like their word is being taken for what it is,” said D’Amours.

D’Amours said she has noticed that demand for her organization’s sexual health resources in schools has gone down during the pandemic, which means some students might not be learning enough about things like consent and healthy relationships — information that can prevent sexual violence from taking place.

But when it does happen, there needs to be a codified policy to make sure the complainant is taken seriously, and that support is also made available to the abuser, she added.

“I would hope that more will be done. I feel bad for those students,” D’Amours said.

“It’s a real disservice to them to not address these issues in a way that would provide them support,” she said.

“The school should also consider looking largely at their policy and how they’re going to move forward and fix the gaps that exist.”

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