King’s announces details of review into sexual assault allegation against ex-prof

As the University of King’s College announced the appointment of two Toronto lawyers to lead an independent, third-party review into an allegation of sexual assault involving a former professor, the school also acknowledged that a key document has gone missing.

Wayne Hankey was charged with sexual assault on Feb. 1 for an alleged incident that occurred in student housing at the Halifax university in 1988. The complainant came forward to police in September.

In a separate incident, Hankey was disciplined by both King’s and the Anglican Church in 1991 after a former student alleged Hankey had sexually abused him for two years in the late 1970s.

The report from the committee that investigated that complaint is “no longer available,” said a letter from King’s president Bill Lahey released on Thursday.

“While there is institutional memory about the work of this committee and ancillary documents pertaining to the committee’s work, a comprehensive search led us to conclude that the university’s copy of the report has not existed for a number of years.”

The disappearance of that document will form part of the review.

The school said Halifax police contacted King’s last month asking for Hankey’s employment records, and that police will obtain the legal orders it needs to be provided with that confidential information, which King’s has already gathered.

Terms of review

Janice Rubin, who will work on the review with her colleague Elizabeth Bingham at Toronto law firm Rubin Thomlinson, has been asked to determine the facts of the 1988 allegation, as well as an appropriate response from the university

The review will take place in a way that does not compromise the court case, the school said.

Rubin, who frequently conducts investigations of workplace harassment, previously investigated the CBC’s handling of the behaviour of former radio and television host, Jian Ghomeshi.

The review will determine the facts and the impact of the 1988 incident, figure out whether authorities at the university knew about the incident and what actions they took, and make recommendations to King’s about how to respond to that incident.

Rubin and Bingham will also consider the 1991 case and whether there are any other incidents involving Hankey that are relevant to how King’s should respond to the 1988 incident.

The reviewers will also determine whether King’s acted to ensure the safety of students, how the university should be accountable for any harm, how the school should deal with third-party complaints of sexualized violence that happened before its policy was implemented, how it can ensure a safe environment and anything else Rubin and Bingham deem relevant.

‘Our silence is born of respect’

Lahey’s letter said the university will not say “anything that could interfere with the credibility and effectiveness of the review. From this day forward, Janice Rubin and her team will determine how they do their work, not the university.”

“Be assured that our silence is born of respect for the process and not any avoidance of it,” Lahey wrote.

The final report, with redactions to protect individuals’ privacy, will be released to the King’s community.

Meanwhile, Dalhousie University, which employed Hankey for decades up to and including the week he was charged with sexual assault, announced it will co-operate with the King’s review and give the investigators access to information “where matters raised may tie to Dalhousie’s jurisdiction.”

Dalhousie has not announced its own review.

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