On Monday morning Athletics Canada announced that former Ottawa Lions coach Andy McInnis and board member Ken Porter have received lifetime bans from the organization and its branches for allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
McInnis was placed on administrative leave by the Ottawa Lions initially on September 13, 2018 as a result of allegations brought forward by athletes. But according to an announcement by Athletics Canada in March of 2019, McInnis was first reprimanded in 2017 for complaints brought by athletes and others in 2016.
The March Athletics Canada announcement also claimed that contrary to the terms of his initial suspension from the Ottawa Lions, McInnis was prohibited from having any contact with staff or athletes from the club. Despite these terms, he coached Ottawa Lions athletes at a training camp during the last week of December 2018 and the first week of January 2019.
In late March of this year, Porter and McInnis received suspensions from Athletics Canada while their cases were under review.
The notice of suspension of Porter in March stated: “Mr. Porter, as Board Chair, and with knowledge that Mr. McInnis attended this training camp and coached Lions Club athletes, has failed to take adequate remedial action concerning this breach of the suspension or administrative leave.”
Since the publication of the suspension notice in March, Athletics Canada reports that many men, now in the fifties and sixties, have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault. Bill MacMackin, Athletics Canada President said in Monday’s press release, “Athletics Canada thanks and applauds all athletes, past and present, who came forward in this investigation. Their testimony and participation are commended, the only way the system can protect athletes is with individuals stepping up to report inappropriate behaviour.”
According to the final decision by Dr. Frank Fowlie, McInnis was paid by the Ottawa Lions while on suspension. “As of today, May 5, 2019, to the best of my knowledge, McInnis has been paid almost eight months of salary by the Lions while on suspension for complaints of sexual harassment.” Further to his removal from Athletics Canada, McInnis will also be expelled from the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame.
The decision also states that Porter is to reimburse Athletics Canada for fees incurred due to his lack of cooperation. “Ken Porter, as a result of his lack of cooperation with the Commissioner’s Office and the Independent Investigator delayed the investigation. The costs of those delays are borne by Athletics Canada, and results in funds being diverted from programs that support athletes. Therefore, in accordance with Rule 140.08.14.i Ken Porter is directed to pay compensation to Athletics Canada for partial reimbursement of the costs of the investigation in the amount of $5,000.00. This compensation is to be made within 30 calendar days of this decision.”
No criminal charges have been laid. The ban is enforced effective immediately. Anyone with a Safe Sport concern can see the Athletics Canada safe sport website.