Longtime youth football coach charged with student sex assaults Five former Churchill High School, Vincent Massey Collegiate players accuse teacher of acts committed between 2004 and 2011
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This article was published 13/04/2022 (409 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg man who has coached high school football for more than three decades has been charged with sexually assaulting five teenage students.
Kelsey Albert Dana McKay, 51, taught physical education and coached football at Churchill High School and Vincent Massey Collegiate.
He is currently on unpaid leave from Vincent Massey, where he works as a teacher.
McKay was arrested Tuesday and charged with five counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual exploitation, four counts of luring and one count of sexual interference. The offences are alleged to have occurred between 2004 and 2011. The alleged exploitation lasted years in some cases, court records obtained by the Free Press show.
The Winnipeg Police Service said Wednesday that the five former football-playing students — all adults now — contacted the sex crimes unit earlier this month. Most of the incidents are alleged to have occurred at the accused’s home.
Four of the individuals played football at Churchill, the other at Vincent Massey.
WPS spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon said the accused “groomed” players and went “beyond” what is expected of a coach-player relationship, breaching those boundaries.
“That’s what this type of suspect does…. They work on building a relationship… they build trust,” she said. “They’re already in a position of trust and control — they’re teachers, they’re coaches.”
McKay’s career as a football coach began in 1990 as an assistant with the Churchill Bulldogs. In 2003, he was named head coach of the team. In 2009, McKay began working at Vincent Massey, where he started a new football program.
Leaders in Winnipeg’s youth football community were taken aback by the troubling allegations.
McKay coached provincial teams in the past but is not currently in charge of any Football Manitoba programs. The head of the sports organization had little to say about the charges.
“At this point we’re not issuing any comments specifically on that case with it being ongoing and the fact that we’re finding out about it in real time,” said Football Manitoba executive director Bill Johnson. “Obviously, we’re incredibly disappointed and concerned for the young players involved. I think that would be the extent of what we’d like to say at this point.”
“Obviously, we’re incredibly disappointed and concerned for the young players involved. I think that would be the extent of what we’d like to say at this point.” – Bill Johnson, Football Manitoba executive director
Johnson, who has run the organization for the last five years, said McKay had served as a provincial team coach but was no longer welcome in the program because he had been recruiting players for his high school team, rather than anything criminal in nature.
Outgoing Winnipeg High School Football League commissioner Rick Henkewich, a longtime coach and volunteer on the local scene, said he was shocked by the news.
“There’s nothing that came to light on it, not to me as a commissioner,” said Henkewich, who served in that role from 2012 to 2018, and again in 2021. “I can honestly say in those six years there was never anything.”
The luring charges relate to grooming, including communicating with students and inviting them to spend time at the accused’s residence. The exploitation charges relate to someone in authority sexually assaulting a person under 18, McKinnon said.
Pembina Trails School Division notified parents and guardians of the arrest Wednesday via a statement from Supt. Ted Fransen, who provided contact information for the police officer in charge of the investigation in the event anyone else has relevant information.
Fransen said the school division will have social workers and psychologists on call as a result of the investigation.
“I want to assure the Massey community that Mr. Kelsey McKay has been placed on unpaid administrative leave and will not be permitted on any school division property. Furthermore, the conditions of his release from custody include strict provisions about who he is allowed to associate with. We are co-operating fully with this police investigation,” Fransen said.
“I want to assure the Massey community that Mr. Kelsey McKay has been placed on unpaid administrative leave and will not be permitted on any school division property.” – Supt. Ted Fransen
“We learned of this matter only (Tuesday). We want to assure the Massey community that we will act as quickly as possible to respond to any developments from this matter and support our students and staff.”
The ongoing investigation includes interviews with other potential witnesses, including those employed by the schools.
Sex-crimes investigators have to go back years, sometimes decades, to collect evidence in historic sex-assault investigations, McKinnon said.
There’s “always a possibility” of other alleged victims, she noted.
“The football community is very widespread, and the person that we’re talking about here has had a very long-standing tenure in the football community.”
“The football community is very widespread, and the person that we’re talking about here has had a very long-standing tenure in the football community.” – WPS spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon
McKay has been released from custody, pending a July 12 court date, according to a release order obtained by the Free Press. He has no past criminal convictions in Manitoba.
By court order, he can’t coach football in any capacity or be in a position of authority over a youth. He’s also barred from contact with anyone under the age of 18 (including communication by any means) except in unavoidable public encounters. He’s not allowed to be where youths under 18 could be present, including schools, daycares, playgrounds or community centres.
— With files from Mike Sawatzky
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.
Third historic investigation in less than a year
Wednesday’s allegations of repeated sexual exploitation by a Winnipeg football coach is the third historic sexual assault investigation announced by the Winnipeg Police Service in less than a year.
“It’s very good that we’re at this point, where people have been so brave and come forward. It’s continuing (to have) this open dialogue that will encourage other people to be strong, bind together and know that we’re here to assist,” police spokeswoman Dani McKinnon said.
On Sept. 1 last year, police arrested Robert (Bob) Donald Joseph Dawson, 57, after two former youth hockey players alleged he had sexually assaulted them while he was their coach in the early 1990s.
The Winnipeg resident was charged with two counts each of sexual interference, sexual exploitation, sexual assault, forcible confinement and making, printing, publishing child pornography or possessing it for the purpose of publication. He was later found dead at a hotel in the St. James area. Foul play wasn’t suspected.
In February, police arrested a 65-year-old Lundar man for alleged sex crimes against children dating back to the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Joseph Floyd Delaney was arrested and charged with three counts of sexual assault, two counts each of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching, and one count each of assault and gross indecency. The allegations have not been proven in court.
The accused also ran church-group theatre productions in the southwest area of the city at the time of the alleged offences, but police noted the man did not solely know the alleged victims through that program.
— Erik Pindera