A push is coming from inside the football community to better protect and support players and students, following allegations that five players were victims of sex assault.
“We need to have something with teeth, to try and lessen the opportunity for them to get at these kids,” said Winnipeg Rifles Coach Geordie Wilson.
Last week Winnipeg police announced the arrest of Kelsey Albert Dana McKay. The 51-year-old coached and taught physical education at Churchill High School and later at Vincent Massey Collegiate.
McKay is charged with several counts including five charges of sexual assault. Police said the majority of the offences in this case occurred at the suspect’s residence. None of the allegations have been tested in court.
“I was disgusted and I was extremely sad,” said Wilson, who is calling for change in the wake of the allegations.
He has written a letter and is reaching out to school divisions, the province and Sport Manitoba. Wilson said new rules are needed. As a condition of employment, Wilson feels teachers and coaches should not be allowed to have players and students at their homes.
“We need to have something hard and fast that protects kids,” he said. “We can’t have any more, ‘Let’s just talk about it and show us another video,’ that’s not keeping predators away from kids.”
The Pembina Trails School Division, which includes Vincent Massey Collegiate, said it already has a policy in place prohibiting staff from inviting or allowing students into their homes.
The Winnipeg School Division, which includes Churchill High School, sent CTV News this statement.
“WSD is currently cooperating with WPS on the charges filed last week and collecting information from that situation to determine if any further changes to our policies or staff development may be required.”
Wilson is also calling for a tip line for victims and others. Sport Manitoba CEO Janet McMahon said one is already in place.
“Anyone can call that line, so to me we obviously need to do more promotion,” said McMahon.
She also said Sport Manitoba is working on a whistleblower policy for its provincial sports organizations to encourage bystanders to report improper conduct.
“It would be investigated separately to the sports organization or to the coach or anybody involved, so I think that’s a really important step that we’re looking at,” said McMahon.
Police said last week there is always the possibility of more victims in this case. Wilson worries about that possibility.
“We have to stop this and that’s why these five individuals are so brave man, and we have to treat them as heroes because what they’ve done is a selfless act,” said Wilson.
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