New allegation against Legacy Christian Academy staff member under investigation

Another complaint has been filed against a staff member at Legacy Christian Academy, formerly known as Christian Centre Academy, in Saskatoon. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC - image credit)
Another complaint has been filed against a staff member at Legacy Christian Academy, formerly known as Christian Centre Academy, in Saskatoon. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC - image credit)

A new complaint against a staff member at the Legacy Christian Academy has been filed with Saskatoon police.

A police spokesperson confirmed in an email that they received a new complaint on June 1 and are investigating.

The Education Ministry is also aware of new allegations involving the private Christian school.

"The Ministry is aware of the complaint, is currently investigating the issue and is engaging with the family to understand the nature of the allegation," a spokesperson with the Ministry of Education said in an email.

"As these matters involve specific individuals, we are not at liberty to discuss details publicly."

Legacy Christian Academy, formerly named Christian Centre Academy, is embroiled in civil and criminal court proceedings.

Former students launched a class-action lawsuit against the school and the connected Mile Two Church after a CBC News investigation revealed 18 former students from the same academy had filed criminal complaints against school staff members.

Those allegations include paddlings, coercion, traumatizing rituals and solitary confinement that students say they experienced during their time at the school.

The allegations in the lawsuit have not been tested in court.

A former coach and athletic director at the school was sent to jail after pleading guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation. Aaron Benneweis was sentenced in October to two years less a day for the offences that began in 2008 and continued until 2012.

Two former principals at the school, Duff Arthur Friesen and John A. Olubobokun, have pleaded not guilty to multiple assault charges and are awaiting trial. Ken Schultz, a former director and vice-principal at the school, has also denied allegations of assault with a weapon and sexual assault and is awaiting trial.

The school on Pinehouse Drive in Saskatoon may close its doors at the end of June, according to a letter obtained by CBC News.

The letter says that ongoing allegations make it difficult to maintain enrolment levels.

"We are, of course, aware of Westdale Christian School's plans to reopen this fall and to do so by renting our current space. The hope is our families will transfer to Westdale without having to continue under the cloud of allegations that is the current situation," wrote Marguerite Wiggins, a senior teacher and advisory consultant at the school.

The letter is addressed to a senior official in the province's Ministry of Education.

CBC provided the ministry with a copy of the letter. A spokesperson said the ministry is aware that Westdale Christian School is interested in relocating to the Legacy Christian Academy building.

"Should this occur, all conditions currently in place for Legacy Christian Academy would remain in place at Westdale Christian School," Mitchell Blair wrote in an email.

"The Ministry of Education has not received the specific letter you provided and, to date, has not received notification of the closure of Legacy Christian Academy."

Christine Gamache, the principal at Legacy Christian Academy, wrote "to my knowledge, no such letter was sent to the Ministry of Education."