2 students at St. Catharines, Ont. school charged after alleged sex assault on campus

Two male international students at Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ont., have been arrested on sexual assault charges in connection with incidents police say involved another student and happened on campus.

The Niagara Regional Police child abuse unit started investigating in December 2019 after being alerted of potential physical and sexual abuse involving a teen, according to Const. Phil Gavin.

Police carried out several interviews focused on the "on-campus conduct of multiple youths" studying at the private school between September 2018 and August 2019.

"The investigation is looking at if there were multiple offences during that time," Gavin explained.

On Wednesday, two males, who police say are both international students under the age of 16, turned themselves in at the Niagara Falls police station.

Charges include sexual assault with a weapon

They're both charged with sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon and sexual assault party to the offences.

Investigators say the victim is also a male under the age of 16.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act bars police from releasing any information about the identities of the accused, said Gavin, including where they're from.

Police would not provide any further details about what weapon was involved and what led to the charges.

School takes allegations 'extremely seriously'

Ridley College is a prestigious school for students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. The school's website shows smartly dressed students in uniform and a large campus surrounded by sports fields.

The school was made aware of alleged sexual assault incidents "between students on campus" in December, said director of communications Andrea Carisse in an email.

School staff contacted police and Family and Children's Services Niagara and are co-operating with the investigation, she added.

All parents of students involved have also been notified and the school is providing support for students and employees.

"We take allegations of harassment and abuse of any kind extremely seriously," wrote Carisse.

Gavin said the investigation is ongoing and police are asking anyone in the school or wider community with information to contact them.

"Detectives have reason to believe there may be more witnesses, potential suspects and or victims out there."