1. Child sexual abuse
A Halifax man who has been convicted of sexually abusing three boys was sued Tuesday by three other men who say they were also his victims. Another two alleged victims have already filed suit against the man, and an active police investigation is looking at the possibility he abused dozens of boys.
Michael Patrick McNutt, 64, lives in Halifax’s north end. In the 1970s and 1980s he was a math and science teacher at Sir Robert Borden Junior High in Dartmouth. He then briefly left teaching to work at a Wendy’s restaurant, but within a year or two returned as a substitute teacher at St. Joseph’s–Alexander MacKay and Westmount schools in north end Halifax, and possibly also at Graham Creighton Junior High School in Cherrybrook. He also coached hockey, baseball, and football teams. McNutt continued as a substitute teacher until 1994, when he pleaded guilty of sexually assaulting a male student in 1987. After that conviction, McNutt was employed for seven years at the KFC on Spring Garden Road, working his way up to a supervisor position. He has since retired.
Through the years, McNutt has faced 15 charges — six for sexual assault, five for sexual exploitation, two for gross indecency, and one each for invitation to sexual touching and an indecent act. He’s been sentenced for three of those charges — two sexual assaults and the indecent act, for which he received a conditional sentence of house arrest that expires on October 20, 2017. The other charges were either dropped entirely or withdrawn when police began to understand the scope of the allegations and formed an investigative team called “Project Apollo” to more fully investigate them.
The Halifax Examiner learned of Project Apollo earlier this year. As it is an active police investigation, we’ve agreed to withhold details of that investigation until charges are laid or the investigation is ended.
But we can tell you that police believe that there could be dozens of other victims, and that the alleged victims identified so far were aged eight to 15 years old at the time of the abuse.
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I discovered this case in May, by way of a court document. After I called police to ask for comment, I was informed the document was mistakenly made available to the public and has since been sealed. There’s now a publication ban on the document, but I had enough information to begin researching McNutt and to be able to tell the story with other court documents that have no publication ban.
I’ve spent much of the summer diving into story, and there’s a much fuller account waiting to be told. But when the three lawsuits were filed Tuesday, I felt I should go ahead and publish what I could before other news media beat me to an abbreviated account. Since I published the article yesterday, I’ve been contacted by people with still more knowledge of McNutt’s career, information I’ve not seen in court or police documents.
There’s more to this story.
2. Why Acadia University got bailed out and CBU didn’t
“Officials at Cape Breton University say they are ‘furious’ after learning Acadia University has received $24.5 million in bailout money from the province — including $10.5 million last year — since 2012-13, while their own pleas for help have gone unanswered,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:
In a statement released Wednesday, university president Dale Keefe and board chair Robert Sampson said they would be seeking a meeting with Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis as soon as possible to discuss the matter.
Sampson said in an interview that CBU’s losses following the funding formula changes were about the same as Acadia’s — roughly $6 million. That’s resulted in cuts to staff and services through the years, as well as depleting the school’s reserve fund.
“We both fell into the same bucket,” said Sampson. “And as the last seven or eight years have rolled out, the hit that they took was reimbursed to them.”
Sampson wouldn’t speculate on why Acadia’s requests for help were answered, while those in Cape Breton were not.
Sampson won’t speculate, but I will: for some unfathomable reason, former Acadian university prez Ray Ivany is a darling of the managerial and political classes in Nova Scotia, endeared by both the previous NDP and current Liberal governments, so much so that Stephen McNeil hired on Ivany’s spouse, Laurie Graham, as his principal secretary at the unprecedented salary of $160,000.
Ivany was evidently able to convince both the NDP and Liberal governments to pony up $3.5 million annually for Acadia, but once Graham had direct and daily access to the premier, last year’s $10.5 million grant was facilitated with ease. What’s ten-and-a-half million dollars for a friend, amirite?
As I wrote last year:
In 2014, the last year for which figures are available, Ray Ivany was paid $280,166 as president of Acadia University [update: Ivany was paid $300,494 in 2015-16] and $94,500 as a board member of Nova Scotia Power.
Ivany also sits on various other boards and commissions. He is a Governor at Rothesay Netherwood School, a private institution. Ivany is also a director at Nova Scotia Business Inc. And, of course, he was the lead commissioner on the the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy, i.e, the Ivany Report…. There are probably others. And most of the public appointments will include per diem, meals and travel expenses covered by the taxpayer.
Ivany sure knows how to work the public service angle for the big bucks.
Ivany had a heart attack last year, and while he is said to have fully recovered, he is retiring from Acadia effective in June 2017. Acadia hasn’t announced Ivany’s retirement pay, but if it’s anything like former Dalhousie University president Tom Traves’, Ivany will make as much as he did while he was working. And Ivany still holds the other positions.
I’m told Ivany leaned on McNeil to hire Graham, because evidently the household can’t live on $400K and change a year. McNeil obliged.
This is the same Stephen McNeil who is attacking working people at every turn. We can’t afford public sector wages, says McNeil, as he doles out $160K to his friend’s wife. Teachers are getting paid too much for educating our children, says McNeil, as he creates a
bullshitjob with no defined dutiesfor Graham. [I was wrong here; the principle secretary is a long-standing position, albeit at far lower salaries.] Nurses are the enemy, says McNeil, but we gotta bring Laurie home so she can tend to Ray while he recovers from his heart attack.
It cannot be more clear: Stephen McNeil, Laurie Graham, and Ray Ivany have utter contempt for the people of Nova Scotia. This is all one big joke to them. As they see it, they are of one stratum of society and deserve giant salaries and comfortable lives provided by the working people who pay taxes. And those working people are of a lower stratum, not worthy of decent paying jobs, job security, or protected pensions.
I was attacked for being sexist in calling out Graham’s appointment. I reject that, as I’d make the same point if the genders were reversed or if the couple were gay or lesbian or transgender. The point is: some people are connected, and some aren’t. And Acadia University had a direct family connection to the premier’s office, while Cape Breton University did not. Nothing else explains why Acadia got bailout money and CBU didn’t.
The bigger issue here is that none of the universities are being properly funded, but that’s a topic for another day.
3. Centre Plan
I missed Tuesday’s council meeting, as I was working on the child sexual abuse story all day. But council approved 14 exemptions to the Centre Plan, which will be adopted later this year. In effect, the 14 developments are now grandfathered into the plan, making the plan essentially meaningless.
It’s HRM By Design all over again: yes, it was a great plan for downtown, except for that part where they carved out a two-city block exemption in the centre of downtown in order to let the Borg be constructed.
There’s no point in having a plan at all if you’re going to build in 14 exemptions to it.
4. One Ocean Expeditions
Mary Campbell unpacks a press conference called for a non-announcment that One Ocean Expeditions will be, well, will be doing nothing new in Cape Breton. Campbell’s report is long and detailed, but I was struck by this part:
For 2018, there is currently no cruise listed on the OOE website as departing Sydney, although the Post is now reporting OOE intends to begin docking the RCGS Resolute here as of November 2018.
As for provisioning, OOE keeps throwing out the figure $6 million as the amount it spent on provisions last year in Halifax and the media is dutifully reporting it, although no one has asked to see receipts. (This is a classic example of citizens being asked to accept on faith what any businessman worth his salt would demand be documented).
Campbell has touched on the basic truth of “economic development” in Nova Scotia: just toss out any bullshit number and the plebes will eat it up.
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5. Pedestrians struck
A police release from yesterday:
At approximately 8 p.m. [Monday] night, a vehicle struck an adult woman and two children at Birch Cove in Dartmouth. EHS checked all three at the scene. The woman and one of the children were cleared at the scene. The three-year-old child was taken to the hospital for examination. It was determined the child had a broken collarbone. There are no charges being laid in this incident.
“A new tenant in the former home of a popular café is sparking up some controversy in Dartmouth,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:
Buds Hemp Shop is moving into 196 Windmill Rd., the former site of the Darkside Café.
The café closed last year after being ordered to pay almost $50,000 in fines from Halifax Regional Municipality. The owners had a permit for an art gallery with an accessory coffee business, but bylaw officers said they were selling more coffee than art.
Social media has been outraged about this for a couple of weeks, but I’ve ignored it, as people just don’t understand how slowly the city works. Yes, the cafe was kicked out, but it took six months or so. And now the pot shop will be kicked out as well, but it’ll take another six months.
Setting up a cafe takes a lot of money and effort: there are fixtures and espresso machines to hook up, washrooms to fit, and so forth. Selling pot takes basically a counter and a cash register. So, I’m guessing, Buds can sell a bunch of pot for six months or so and make a hefty profit before it’s kicked out, whereas the cafe owners undoubtedly lost money.
Heck, Buds could get kicked out and the owner could the next day start a new company, Duds maybe, and set up shop in the same location, apply for an occupancy permit, and wait out the six months it takes to evict that operation. Then they could repeat with Fuds, or Muds, or…
And yes, the missing apostrophe in Buds annoys me too.
7. Mother Canada™
“Though not as generous as they once were, donations are still rolling in for the Mother Canada[™] statue more than a year after Ottawa pulled its support for the $25-million project in Cape Breton Highlands National Park,” reports Joan Weeks for the CBC:
The eight-storey statue of a grieving mother with her arms outstretched toward Europe is the brainchild of Tony Trigiani, a Toronto businessman who continues to fight for the controversial, privately funded project at Green Cove.
His organization, the Never Forgotten Memorial Foundation, received $208,000 in tax-receipted charitable donations last year, according to information filed with the Canada Revenue Agency. That’s down from $485,000 in 2015 and $865,000 in 2014.
When asked why the foundation continues to accept donations for the monument, Trigiani told CBC in an email that “funds received in 2016 have been used to pay for considerable expenses for the site of Green Cove.”
“Officials say an attempt to smuggle 200 kilograms of hash by hiding it in chocolate bars was foiled by border officers and an X-ray machine in Halifax,” reports the Canadian Press:
The agency says the drugs were concealed in 100 chocolate bars, each containing two kilograms of hidden hashish, and were seized at the port on May 25.
I’m sorry I missed that in the “On the harbour” listings.
9. Glove guy
The Redditors are weirded out by the glove guy:
Last weekend I was on my way back from downtown walking alone on Spring Garden road scouting for a cab when a well dressed guy in a black SUV pulls up beside me and asks if I’m looking for a cab. I said yes, he asked where I was going and I told him. He said he was headed in the same direction and that he offers rides around town on the weekend. Thinking this was some friendly guy running his own Uber service, I got in hoping for a cheap ride home and handed him $10 out of my pocket. I’m 6’3 and 200lbs so I didn’t feel threatened. Stupid of me.
The guy is wearing a leather jacket and leather gloves, and as soon as we’re driving, starts talking about the business he has selling leather gloves. He gives me his business card. At this point I think he’s just a quirky salesman with a small business which he promotes on the side while driving people.
When we get near my street, he tells me he wants me to try on some gloves. He is very excited about his gloves and despite being a bit weird I thought I’d humor him, give his business a chance and then tell him I wasn’t interested and be on my way.
He gives me a pair of leather gloves which are extremely tight to fit on my hands and I start to put one on, despite it obviously not fitting. He then prompts me to pull the glove right on and thread my fingers together to stretch it on properly, and shows me how to stretch the glove by pulling on it and making a fist. At this point I’m getting extremely wierded out by the whole thing, and we turn onto my street, when he pulls over and encourages me to put the other glove on too. While this is happening an obviously drunk girl walks up to the window to ask for directions. I go to open the door to talk to her, seeing a good excuse to dip, and he says “No, don’t open it” or something along those lines — I think he actually hit the window lock button too. She asks me for directions from outside the car and I point her on down the street. I turn back to the guy and he has a “better fitting” pair of gloves for me to try on. At this point I should have gotten the fuck out of there but I just told him “Okay I’ll try them on and I have your card so I’ll get in touch if I like them,” this seemed like the least confrontational route out of his car. Again they are ridiculously tight and he has me stretch the gloves. This time it becomes extremely obvious that he has a fetish for young men wearing leather gloves and this is how he gets off. As I stretch the glove onto my hand, he starts breathing heavily and telling me how to stretch it. I had to physically turn and look down at his hands to make sure he wasn’t jerking off, because it sounded like it from his breathing and the way he spoke. I was pretty drunk and too uncomfortable to voice concern or contend with his requests. I felt like I would have been behaving weirdly if I straight up turned down his attempts to have me model and buy his gloves. I did what he said for a while and stretched the gloves pretending to be interested/consider buying them for what felt like an eternity and then said “Anyway that’s great but I should really get home, I have your card”, at which point he acquiesces and starts driving down the street again. I had him drop me a block away from my house and hid in somebody’s yard around the corner to wait for him to leave, which he did after idling there for 5 minutes.
While the particulars differ, welcome to women’s everyday lives, fellows.
10. Innovation, Saint John edition
Global reporter Andrew Cromwell produces a throw-away boosterism piece on tourism in Saint John, and interviews Victoria Clarke, Discover Saint John’s executive director:
There were some visiting the city on the cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas, however, who found themselves wanting for more information before they disembarked.
But Clarke says there are many ways to access information when you’re in the city.
“We are an innovator in this industry. We have e-kiosks throughout the city that you could print out walking directions, you can find everything you want,” she explained.
E-kiosks, people! E, and then: kiosks.
I think that means they fired all the people who used to help tourists.
1. Urban planning, Portland edition
Stephen Archibald has been wandering around eastern Canada and the northeast U.S., taking photos and finding stories, as he does. I’ll never understand his love for the brutalism he found in abundance in Quebec, but I’m on the same page with him about Portland, Maine:
Portland, Maine is a convenient place to spend the night, sample good food and marvel at the well restored and maintained heritage buildings. It appears that reinventing your city doesn’t necessarily mean tearing down all the old buildings to put up mediocre apartments.
Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — Marlene Brown and Kelly Schnare will give a presentation on “The Contaminated Village of Harrietsfield.” Brown is the resident who began a private prosecution of the companies responsible for the contamination of ground water in Harrietsfield.
Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, Alderney Gate) — the council will consider a proposed development at the corner of Portland Street and Portland Hills Drive.
No public meetings.
No public meetings until September.
Thesis Defence, Physics and Atmospheric Science (Thursday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Jan-Hendrik Pöhls will defend his thesis, “Ultralow Thermal Conductivity and Novel Thermoelectric Materials.”
Thesis Defence, Mechanical Engineering (Thursday, 2pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Timothy Crowtz will defend his thesis, “Improving the Durability of Nanostructured Thin Film Supported Platinum Fuel Cell Catalysts with the Addition of Iridium and Ruthenium.”
Thesis Defence, Applied Psychology (Friday, 10am, Sobey 255) — Krista D.E. Wright will defend her thesis, “To Lead or To Follow? The Impact of Sexual Orientation, Race, and Gender on Leadership Evaluations.”
In the harbour
2;30am: ZIM Qingdao, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for New York
6am: Hollandia, general cargo, arrives at Pier 31 from Mariel, Cuba
6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
7am: Veendam, cruise ship with up to 1,350 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney
11am: Atlantic Conveyor, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
11am: Liberty, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
3:30pm: Veendam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Bar Harbor
4:30pm: ZIM Chicago, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from new York
4:30pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport back to Pier 41
5:30pm: Atlantic Conveyor, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
9pm: Alpine Legend, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from IJmuiden, Netherlands
We’re recording Examineradio today.