Ontario Press Council rules in favour of former private school teacher, convicted sex offender

The Ontario Press Council ruled that the Toronto Star was wrong in implying that a former Upper Canada College (UCC) house master had connections to convicted murderer and rapist, Russell Williams. The Star published the Council’s decision the following day, Dec. 16, on page A2. 

The article in question, “Life and Times of Col. Russell Williams” (front page, Feb. 13, 2010), stated that: “The coincidence – Williams, a boarder at the school the same time (the complainant) was molesting students – is hard to ignore although there is currently no evidence indicating they, in fact, crossed paths. (The complainant), who remained at UCC until 1993, was reached by the Star. He said he never had any contact with Williams.”

The complainant — whom the Council decided not to name — was convicted of sexually assaulting boys at the school between 1975 and 1980 and was sentenced to serve three years in prison. Williams attended the school as a student at the same time the complainant taught there, but the Star did not provide any evidence to indicate that the two men ever crossed paths. In the absence of any relevant evidence, the Council decided that the Star was not justified in linking the complainant to Williams.