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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Street Culture Project releases findings of investigation into sexual assault allegations

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A months-long third-party investigation into allegations of workplace sexual assault at Regina’s Street Culture Project (SCP) has been completed.

The investigation was instigated by anonymous allegations about a senior staffer made in July on the now-defunct Victims Voices Regina Instagram page.

“The investigation uncovered issues including inappropriate actions, behaviours and practices,” read an update to the investigation posted to the SCP website this week.

Details regarding specific occurrences were not made public in an effort to respect the privacy of those affected, according to SCP Board Chair Cassandra Klassen.

While the non-profit says the main goal of the investigation was “to provide a confidential forum to investigate sexual harassment complaints that initially arose on Instagram regarding SCP”, the results of the investigation have been forwarded to the Regina Police Service.

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“We sent all materials related to our investigation to the RPS to make sure we are doing our due diligence,” Klassen said.

Speaking after Tuesday’s Regina Board of Police Commissioners meeting, RPS Chief Evan Bray said police are ready to review the investigation.

“At this point I don’t have any other information other than that I’m aware that we will be stepping in and conducting an investigation,” he said. “Ultimately that will lead to a finding of what the facts were and whether or not someone was criminally responsible.”

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The anonymous poster said they dealt with “near-daily sexual harassment” while working for the organization, including from someone they claimed was “my serial sexual harasser.”

A day after the allegations surfaced, then-SCP Executive Director Dustin Browne came out publicly as the person the complaints were directed at.

In a comment on the Instagram post itself, Browne said “I acknowledge that I have taken for granted that the power and privilege I have been afforded as a male as well as my actions have created a toxic and unprofessional environment.”

“I am very sorry to anyone that has been negatively impacted by my and anyone else’s actions and I promise to all that I have been and will continue to do better,” the comment continued.

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He then resigned after being suspended by Street Culture Project.

According to SCP’s update, Dustin Browne did not participate in the investigation.

Former CEO Kim Sutherland, who retired in September, ceased his participation partway through the investigation, according to the update.

Klassen added that there were “4-5 others that left because of the investigation and a few more may have left for one reason or another. We’re not sure how much the investigation played in.”

SCP says a number of actions recommended by the independent investigator, Regina lawyer Donna Sigmeth, have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented within the organization.

These include confidential, no-cost counselling to all current and former employees, a review of SCP’s policy manual and education of staff and management on those policies, respectful workplace training for all employees and a review of board governance, roles and responsibilities.

“We’re working to repair and heal the culture of the organization,” Klassen said.

“There has been a lot of work to improve management practices and distribution of power throughout the agency which assures that inappropriate behaviours are dealt with more effectively.”

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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