POLITICS

Royal Winnipeg Ballet dismisses photographer it says police are investigating

04/16/2015 12:49 EDT | Updated 07/01/2015 12:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has dismissed an instructor amid a police investigation into complaints that nude photos were taken of former female dance students.

The ballet company announced Thursday it had parted ways with Bruce Monk, who was named by Maclean's magazine as being under investigation for allegedly taking nude and semi-nude photos of teenage female students in the 1980s and '90s.

The magazine reported it had spoken with four women who said Monk took photos of them when they were under 18.

Ballet executive director Jeff Herd said the company learned of the police probe in January.

"We became aware of the investigation on Jan 7. On Jan. 8, Bruce was put on administrative, paid leave while the police did their investigation, which I believe is ongoing."

This week, the ballet went a step further and severed ties with Monk, Herd said.

Winnipeg police said the investigation was nearly complete and the Crown was being consulted as to the next steps. Police released few details, other than to say there are several alleged victims, one unnamed male suspect and the events date back more than 20 years, when privacy and pornography laws were different.

"The significance of time, the changes in laws — there are a number of complexities that we are dealing with, with respect to the investigation," said police spokesperson Const. Jason Michalyshen.

"Any and all victims need to be heard, and we have given them that opportunity. Our report has been or will be submitted (to the Crown)."

Attempts to reach Monk Thursday were not immediately successful.

A biography of Monk recently deleted from the ballet's website said he had been a teacher since 1987 and his photographs had been used in Hollywood movies.

"His Platinum prints can be found in the permanent collection of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography and his work has been used in films as diverse as 'Two for the Money' and 'Vanilla Sky,'" the profile stated.

Herd said Thursday the ballet company is co-operating with authorities, and as far as he knows, the events being probed did not occur at the ballet's building in downtown Winnipeg.

"What we've been told is this has been investigated and as far as we know (the incidents) were not on our property," he said.