"Sanjiv will be taking a leave of absence from the School."
Canadian police have charged a school principal with sexual assault.
Sanjiv Kumar, a principal at Frederick Banting International School in Brampton, was charged on June 8, 2020, with sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
The allegations relate to a 16-year-old female student at the school. Police believe that there may be additional victims.
Fifty-four-year-old Kumar, who is also known as Sanjiv Dhawan, was later released on an undertaking and will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on August 24, 2020.
In a statement from the school, principal Evelyna Radakovic said the community was “shocked to learn that our principal has been charged with a criminal offence in relation to a student”.
Radakovic went on to say that the school was “not aware of these allegations before criminal charges were laid”.
The full statement read: “The allegations are inconsistent with the conduct and character of the Sanjiv that I have come to know and have worked with closely for many years.
“Still, we recognise that such allegations must be taken seriously, and the justice process must take its course.
“In the meantime, our focus remains on our students and on ensuring that they can complete the school year free from all unnecessary distractions.
“Therefore, effective immediately, Sanjiv will be taking a leave of absence from the School. He will not return until his name is cleared.”
Justin Safayeni, Kumar’s lawyer, has stated that the charges against his client have not been tested or proven in court.
Kumar denied the allegations in a Facebook post. He wrote:
“I was shocked to learn last night that I was being charged with a criminal offence in relation to one of my students.”
“To all my family, friends and former students: Please rest assured that these allegations are false. I look forward to clearing my name in the courts over the coming weeks.”
The school principal added: “As the school and its students remain my priority, and I don’t want this unfortunate event to become a distraction, I will be taking a leave of absence from the school until my name is cleared.”
Investigators believed that there may be additional victims and have encouraged them to contact the Special Victims Unit at 905-453-2121, ext. 3400.
Information can also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-877-222-8477 (TIPS) or by visiting peelcrimestoppers.ca.