The Ontario Provincial Police has received formal complaints of “criminal wrongdoing” at Grenville Christian College and is asking former students with similar accusations to come forward to the authorities.
“The OPP has started an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at Grenville Christian College,” OPP spokesman Sgt. Kristine Rae said in an interview. “If any past students at Grenville Christian College have any complaints of criminal wrongdoing, they are asked to call the Grenville OPP.”
Rae confirmed that criminal complaints were made to police Wednesday against the now-defunct private school east of Brockville. Investigators in Prescott are handling the case.
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A scandal has been swirling over allegations of cult practices and abuse at Grenville Christian College since it suddenly shut down last month.
However, Rae refused to release any further details about the formal complaints filed with police, who have been reviewing allegations of physical and psychological abuse at the school stemming over a span of three decades since they came into the national spotlight in the media and on the Internet.
Police had been reviewing allegations against school staff by former students in news reports and on cyber chatrooms that had erupted in recent weeks but had not launched a formal investigation because up until Wednesday no formal complaints had been laid.
The criminal investigation into Grenville Christian College comes as the Anglican Diocese of Ontario is wrapping up its own month-long inquiry into allegations against two Anglican priests at Grenville Christian College.
But Wayne Varley, diocesan executive officer with the Anglican Diocese of Ontario, would not say how many students and teachers Bishop George Bruce has met with during his inquiry or reveal the nature of their allegations.
Former students have alleged in the media bizarre disciplinary practices at the school, including physical and psychological abuse.
Some have claimed there were so-called “light sessions” in which staff members hauled them out of bed at night to shine bright lights in their eyes and call them sinners.
Bruce has been receiving written and oral complaints from former students and teachers over the past two weeks alleging cult practices, physical, and psychological abuse. The inquiry should be completed on Oct.1.
It has been reported that the complaints revolve around two Anglican priests connected with the school but Varley has refused to identify them or release specific details about the allegations against the clergy.
The church is following the procedure laid out under canon 35 that covers complaints and discipline for Anglican clergy. Under canon 35, Bruce will meet with the complainants and then must inform anyone against whom those complaints have been lodged of the allegations and allow them a response. If there is a finding of misconduct, penalties range from a reprimand to suspension to removal from office.