Queen’s student avoids sexual assault charge, convicted of common assault

Chance Macdonald’s sentencing postponed to not interfere with summer employment

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This article talks about sexual assault, and may be triggering for some readers.

Updated Sept. 1 at 5:13 p.m. with statement from Kingston Police and AMS Social Issues Commissioner. 

On August 25, Queen’s student Chance Macdonald was sentenced to two years’ probation along with 88 days of intermittent jail time on weekends for assaulting a 16-year old victim 22 months ago.

This stems from Macdonald, Comm ’18, pleading guilty on April 3 to a charge of common assault he committed against a 16-year-old female. According to public Ontario Court of Justice record, his sentencing was “reluctantly” adjourned until August 25th, so as to “not interfere with his summer job [and] chances of being hired [full time] prior to August 25th.”

When Macdonald first appeared in court in November of 2015, he was facing charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement. These original charges were withdrawn by the time he was sentenced.

Deloitte Canada, Macdonald's former employer, shared a statement via Facebook on Thursday addressing the sentencing, noting they were made aware the previous night of a “2015 criminal incident involving a former Deloitte summer student.”

“This had not been disclosed to us previously by the individual, and due to the arrangement made with the Court, was not information that was available to us through our screening process. We take this very seriously and have addressed it,” Deloitte wrote. “This individual is no longer employed by Deloitte.”

The assault occurred in early October 2015 during a “rookie party” for the Gananoque Islanders junior hockey team, held in the university housing district.

At the time of Macdonald’s plea in April, assistant Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis read an account of what happened that night into the court record. In an article from The Whig-Standard, Laarhuis recalled that the victim faced repeated rude comments and intrusions from several of the male hockey players in the home that night. 

Macdonald, who was 20 years old at the time, was among this crew. Laarhuis read that over the course of the night Macdonald requested to have a threesome with the victim, forced himself on top of her and allegedly groped her.

Earlier in the hearing, The Whig-Standard reported that the judge expressed to Macdonald that although he excelled in employment, athletics and academics, all of this could have come crashing down on him.  

To read the full Whig article, click here.

As reported in The Whig Standard, the sentence arrived via a joint recommendation from Macdonald and the victim’s lawyers, adopted by Justice Letourneau. 

Macdonald has been subjected to bail conditions since his first appearance in court in November 2015. After completing his four-month summer internship, his probation and 88 days of intermittent jail time will start on September 8.

The conditions of his probation require Macdonald to stay away from the victim and avoid any direct or indirect communication with her, as well as abstain from the use of alcohol or other intoxicating substances.

The University released a statement Thursday afternoon expressing that they were “extremely disheartened to learn” that Macdonald was a Queen’s student.

“When the university becomes aware that a member of the Queen’s community has been charged with or convicted of a violent crime, an assessment is conducted to determine if there is a risk to the Queen’s community,” the statement read. “Due to privacy considerations, we will not speak publicly about specific students or the outcomes of such matters.”

“We are taking steps to assess the safety and protect the wellbeing of individuals within our community. This is the university’s top priority.”

A statement from Kingston Police

In an email to The Journal on Friday, Detective Sargeant in the Sex Assault Unit Barbara Hough provided safety tips and advice on reporting sexual assault for students.

“In regards to concerns of fellow students convicted of a crime or not… You can never be aware of everyone who may be a potential threat. The best way to remain safe is to be alert and aware of your surroundings and the people around you,” Hough wrote.

Hough advised students to avoid travelling alone on campus at night and “if you choose to drink, due so in moderation.”

“Be aware of the source of the alcohol and who may have had access to tamper with it before you drink,” Hough wrote.

“For students hesitant to report a sexual assault… Kingston Police want you to know that we have several sexual assault investigators that are dedicated to providing a safe, respectful and supportive environment to victims reporting sexual violence. We are committed to working together with community partners to deliver a victim centered approach within the criminal justice system.”

“Cases like this is the very reason so many of us do the work we do,” says Safeer

AMS Social Issues Commissioner Ramna Safeer, ArtSci ’18, acknowledged the fear amongst students surrounding this case and offered some insight for those who may be concerned about sexual violence occurring on campus.

“Know that there are so many campus partners and members of our community who are actively challenging this culture of sexual violence and working towards a campus that doesn’t stand for sexual violence in all its forms, whether that’s sexual assault or rape jokes or victim-blaming,” Safeer wrote in an email to The Journal. 

“What’s important to remember about our response to highly visible and publicized cases of sexual violence like this one, is that a rhetoric of shock and surprise might be sending the wrong message,” Safeer wrote. “Sexual violence happens to real people. Statistics are real and it’s a shame, I think, that it often takes one person’s incredibly traumatic experience to be made widespread and public for us to believe it.”

“Cases like this is the very reason so many of us do the work we do and it doesn’t change our efforts to cultivate an environment where sexual violence is met with accountability, not apathy.”

The Journal will update this story as more information becomes available.

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