Newspaper article The Canadian Press

University Grapples with Sexual-Assault Allegations against Football Players

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

University Grapples with Sexual-Assault Allegations against Football Players

Article excerpt

University grapples with sex allegations

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ANTIGONISH, N.S. - The bucolic university campus is set in a small Nova Scotia town: A cluster of steeples, ivy-covered brick and stone buildings and manicured sports fields.

St. Francis Xavier University, an undergraduate-focused school with Antigonish County's rolling hills as a backdrop, is a tight-knit community with small class sizes, a familial atmosphere and a strong spirit.

It also has a reputation as a party school, with rowdy weekends and a binge-drinking culture -- one that is under scrutiny after allegations of sexual assault surfaced last week.

Two varsity football players have been charged with sexual assault. Both have been released with conditions and are set to appear in provincial court in January, police said.

The allegations first came to light after an 18-year-old woman reported an alleged sexual assault to Antigonish RCMP on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

She said the incident took place over the previous weekend.

During their investigation, another victim -- a 19-year-old woman -- came forward and alleged that one of the accused had also sexually assaulted her, RCMP said.

She said the assaults happened on two separate occasions on campus, once in September and again in November, police said.

RCMP said Jonah Williams, 19, has been charged with three counts of sexual assault, while Tyler Ball, 18, was charged with one count of sexual assault. Both men played defensive back for the X-Men varsity football team, but their online profiles have since been removed.

The university administration has responded by imposing immediate interim measures against the two students while an internal investigation is conducted.

"One of the accused has been denied access to campus. The other has been granted restricted access to campus, only permitted to attend classes," Andrew Beckett, head of student services and vice-president of finance and administration, said an emailed statement. "It is important to note that arrangements are being made to allow continuation of course work remotely."

He added that all student privileges have been revoked, including participating in varsity athletics. …

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