HALIFAX — A Halifax university recently dropped its valedictorian days before the campus graduation ceremonies, after learning he was a convicted sex offender.
A spokeswoman for Mount Saint Vincent University confirmed Friday that Ricardo Gorski had been slated to deliver the May 18 valedictory address until the school was informed of his background and confirmed he had been convicted of sexual assault.
Gillian Batten, a spokeswoman for the university, said the dean of the business administration department, which Gorski had graduated from, contacted him, and the student then dropped out of the ceremony.
"I was told the dean contacted him as soon as he was made aware of the issue, and at that point he (Gorski) withdrew," said Batten.
According to the Halifax Chronicle Herald, citing a record from the provincial Royal Gazette, Gorski had changed his name several years ago from Konstanty (Kostek) Bedo-Gorski.
The newspaper reported in 2014 that Gorski was a soccer coach when he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in an elite soccer program, and was sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary.
The original story on his sentencing said Judge Michael Sherar ordered the 24-year-old to register as a sex offender for 20 years following his release from prison, with an assessment of a mild to moderate risk to reoffend.
Batten said valedictorian nominations are reviewed by a sub-committee on academic policy and nominees are not required to submit a criminal record check.
The Canadian Press