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Rugby coach resigns, is suspended from Victoria restaurant following sexual assault allegations

Social media page creates a safe space for survivors to share their stories
A man accused of sexual assault has resigned as a coach at Castaway Wanderers Rugby Club and has had his employment suspended at The Local. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)

Four online sexual assault allegations against a Victoria man have caused a rugby club to ask him to resign and a local restaurant to suspend his employment.

The allegations, made on a social media page devoted to giving Vancouver Island survivors of sexual assault a platform, were made April 10 and note the accused man’s roles as a coach at Castaway Wanderers Rugby Club and service industry employee.

The next day, Castaway Wanderers made a statement to social media saying it had asked the coach to resign and he had agreed.

“We are shocked by the allegations and condemn the behaviour described,” the statement read. “Castaway Wanderers is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for participants of all genders, races and sexual orientation across all of our programs.”

READ ALSO: What is rape culture and what does it look like in Greater Victoria?

On April 15, The Local – the restaurant where the man is employed – also released a statement saying it has suspended the employee and partner in question while it investigates the allegations.

“We have encouraged all staff to bring forward any concerns related to this matter so they can be acted upon immediately,” the statement read. “We have committed resources to staff education and training on prevention and awareness for workplace harassment.”

“We care deeply about the community we live in and serve,” it added.

This is the second sexual assault allegation in the last month against someone associated with The Local.

In March, one of two real estate agents fired from The Agency was also a minority partner of The Local’s.

At the time, owner Jeremy Petzing said he and The Local community were deeply shaken and that their thoughts were first and foremost with the woman who brought forward the allegations. The restaurant cut ties with that individual.

READ ALSO: Fourth Greater Victoria real estate agent fired over allegations of sexual assault

In the last two months, four real estate agents and two restaurant employees have been fired over sexual assault allegations stemming from the social media page. It’s created a safe and supportive space for survivors to share their without the fear of victim blaming, said Alyx MacAdams of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, speaking with Black Press Media earlier this month. Since it’s creation last summer, hundreds of posts have been made.

“Rape culture continues to put survivors in a position where they feel like they may not be believed or fear the consequence of backlash,” they said.

As a community, MacAdams said, we need to be working toward “consent culture” instead, where there are no passive bystanders and sexual violence is called out.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria’s sexual violence allegations find safe space on social media

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Anyone who wishes to report an incident or has information about an incident can call the VicPD report desk at 250-995-7654 ext. 1.

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre offers counselling, victim services and a sexual assault response team. The centre can be reached 24/7 at 250-383-3232.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media after starting as a community reporter in Greater Victoria.
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