The City of Warman cancelled a contract with Young Athlete Saskatchewan (YAS), a basketball camp previously linked with convicted sex offender Dennis Robert Hall, after the city says a camp representative failed to show identification.
A city spokesperson told Global News the city had signed a contract with Brian North for the camp to take place in the Legends Centre, a city facility.
Global News has not been able to verify that Hall is still involved with the camp but a former YAS board member said she believes Brian North is a fake name used by Hall, whom a judge sentenced to concurrent 18-month jail terms in 1981 for having sex with two girls between the ages of 14 and 16 and for indecently assaulting two other adolescent girls.
Multiple media outlets have reported Hall received a pardon from the federal government for his crimes in 1994. Global News has not been able to confirm he received a pardon.
A year-long Global News investigation into Hall and YAS reported that two former employees, who were 18 and 16 when they worked for Hall in his home office in 2002, both allege he sexually harassed them.
One of the employees says she overheard Hall using what she said were fake names while communicating with parents.
Global News sent its questions to all Warman city councillors and the mayor last Friday.
Eric Busse, a Warman spokesperson, said in an email Tuesday the city wasn’t aware of the jail terms, charges and allegations against Hall.
“The information you brought forward in your email — that the signee of the rental contract, Brian North, was a potential alias of Dennis Hall and not a real person — is new information to the City of Warman,” Busse wrote.
“If Brian North fails to provide identification to confirm they exist by the determined deadline, this would void the contract that had been signed and prevent this program from occurring within a City of Warman facility.”
That deadline was Tuesday at 10 a.m.
At 11:14 a.m. Busse emailed again, saying North failed to provide identification.
“The contract signed by Brian North is now void and our staff are currently in the process of cancelling it now,” Busse wrote.
Busse said Warman had been in contact with North and Robb Hall. The former board member alleges Robb Hall is another pseudonym.
Marcia Neault said — and YAS corporate documents show — she joined the board in 2007. She said she quit about a week before the interview with Global News, though the latest corporate filings show she is still listed as a board member.
In an interview she said that, in 15 years, she had never met Brian North.
“Brian North, as far as I know, is nonexistent,” she said.
“(Brian North is) someone that’s made up by Dennis,” she alleged, “because he seems to be phoning from the same phone as Dennis is.”
In a 2021 email exchange with the father of a former YAS employee who alleges Hall sexually harassed her, Dennis Hall denied being Brian North. That email, which Hall signed “Denis Hall,” was from a “Hall Comm” account. The Hall Comm website states it is a “YAS bursary program.” Every link on the sparse page is either a link to YAS or an email address for YAS.
The phone number listed under the “Denis Hall” signature from the Hall Comm email matches one of the phone numbers on the YAS website.
(Hall sometimes spells his name “Denis.”)
Global News attempted to contact Hall through the Hall Comm email and YAS email addresses and phone numbers that appear on the YAS site.
Global News did not receive a response.
Global News has never received an email response from Hall, or anyone else at YAS. Someone answered calls to numbers associated with YAS and Dennis Hall four times in total when Global News reached out for previous stories. Once a man stated they are not Dennis Hall and then hung up. Another time a man stated they couldn’t hear Global News and promptly hung up. On two other occasions someone hung up right after Global News identified itself.
Neault also said that Hall told her to call him Robert, not Dennis when she was visiting the camp in 2019.
“I asked him and he said, ‘Well, sometimes I’m Robert and sometimes I’m Dennis,’” she said.
And she told Global News she’s never met Linda Smith.
Smith, Robb Hall and Brian North are all names that have appeared on YAS emails to parents, obtained by Global News, and in YAS promotional material in recent years.
A 2018 YAS change of directors notification shows Brian North and Robb Hall have the same address, an apartment on 9th Street East in Saskatoon.
Robb Hall isn’t mentioned in a 2022 financial return, but it shows Smith and North have the same address at the same apartment building. The 2022 filing doesn’t give an apartment number.
All the directors have the same mailing address, a PO box in a strip mall on 8th Street East in Saskatoon.
Recent corporate documents do not list Dennis Hall.
An email sent in 2020 from a camp account to a parent states Dennis Hall has not been involved with YAS for years — though photos on the camp website appear to show Hall was there as recently as 2020.
In November 2020, Dennis Hall’s Facebook page showed his name to be Dennis. Since then it shows “Robb Hall,” though the photo is the same and the URL still shows “Dennis Hall.”
Global News attempted to contact Smith, Robb Hall and Brian North and asked if they were different people and if they were Dennis Hall. Global News never received a response.
Neault said Dennis Hall told her to call him Robert when she was at the camp to hand out medals in 2019.
Several photos on the YAS Facebook page show her handing out medals.
She said that was one of the very few occasions she attended the camp.
Neault estimated that she visited YAS only five times in her 15 years on the board.
Once, she said, she gave a presentation on nutrition.
She told Global News she has no expertise in nutrition or basketball. But she said Hall wrote the presentation and asked Neault, who is a First Nations woman, to present the information as if it were traditional First Nations knowledge.
She also alleged Hall has signed her name to legal documents and YAS communications.
Her name sometimes appears as “Marcie Chatsis-Neault” in some YAS documents. She says Chatsis was a married name and she is now divorced.
She said she did sign some documents.
During the interview she showed Global News a YAS letter from June 2021 with her name and signature, saying she did sign it but she didn’t read it before doing so.
The letter states she has “worked closely with Denis Hall and Robert “Robb” Hall in their respective capacities as the YAS Basketball Camps Director.”
“The performance of their duties requires year-round contact and consultation with me and the Board,” the letter states.
The document gave a phone number for Neault. Neault said she didn’t recognize it and called it while Global News was present. A recording stated the number was not in service.
Neault also told Global News she was aware of some of Hall’s criminal history. She said she didn’t know about the convictions for indecent assaults against minors but did say he told her about his convictions for having sex with girls between 14 and 16.
“I know it is wrong to have sex with children. These are basically children,” she said.
“But the fact that he went to jail and was pardoned for it, I have no response to it.”
She also said she observed Hall in a mall look at teenage girls walking by and say “If I were younger, I would like that.”
Neault told Global News she confronted Hall about the comments and she never heard him say similar things again.
Global News contacted Neault several times before publishing its previous stories. She said she did receive Global’s calls and emails but didn’t respond because she didn’t want to answer anything.
She said she quit the board twice, in 2011 and 2019, but she said she came back because Hall asked her to and because he was her friend.
“My priority was that he was a friend. He looked after me when I was sick. He was there for me when I was crying,” she said, though she added she no longer considered him a friend.
And even though she said she knew Hall used fake names to communicate with parents, that she heard him inappropriately speak about teenage girls and that he signed her name to legal documents and letters to parents, she said she couldn’t – and wouldn’t – do anything.
She said she didn’t have any contact information for parents, that it is up to the police to pursue any suspicious or criminal behaviour, like the allegation from former employees and the use of fake names.
“I’m not as passionate about (the camp). I don’t really care,” she said.
“At a deeper level, I don’t really care what happens with YAS.”
She remained on the board even after she said her son pulled her grandson out of the camp.
She said she agreed to an interview because she was now done with Hall. She said he signed a cheque for $120 to her to make up her costs for traveling from Saskatoon to Regina to distribute flyers the week before the interview.
She said Hall deliberately put the wrong name and date on the cheque so she couldn’t deposit it. When she asked him to fix it, she said he wrote the incorrect name and date again.
Global News viewed what Neault says is the second payment. She stated Hall wrote it the previous week but it was dated for 2020 and signed to “Marcie Neault.”
She quit YAS shortly after she received the second cheque, she said, and called Global News.
Knowing Warman cancelled the YAS contract was a huge relief to a former YAS employee, who Global News is identifying as Silvia.
She worked for Hall at YAS at a camp and at his home office in 2002.
She told Global News previously that Hall answered the door wearing nothing but a towel. She also alleges he told her she and her friends could move in, though she alleges Hall told her “light cleaning wouldn’t be the only thing I would get you to do to repay me.” Silvia says she understood this to mean he wanted sexual favours from her.
At the time of the alleged incident she was 18 and he was 56.
She also alleges he called and emailed her frequently for a year.
She filed a police report with the Saskatoon Police Service.
The report, which Silvia obtained through an access to information request and given to Global News, states “…while at a high-school gym Hall approached her was with (sic) some friends talking about someone having a baby when Hall allegedly told her that she should have a baby and that he could help her with that. He reached over and rubbed her belly.”
The report also said, “there is nothing at this time that would lead us to pursue further investigation or have suspicions that charges may be able to be laid.”
When she saw YAS had booked the Legends Centre in Warman, she said, “my anxiety was up and my heart was racing.”
She told Global News she’s happy Warman cancelled the contract with the camp, though she worries another municipality could book YAS in the future.
“I don’t want to see a child in a bad situation and I don’t want to see anything happen to a family or a student that’s just trying to enjoy their summer,” she said.
She told Global News she believes the province needs to regulate who can operate privately-run sports camps, either through a governing body or by requiring criminal records checks and vulnerable sector checks for camps applying to rent space.
In February 2021 Global News asked the Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport what regulations govern who can operate a camp.
In an emailed response, a ministry spokesperson said provincial sports organizations can sanction and/or endorse camps.
Camps are not obligated to seek an endorsement or enter into a relationship with provincial sporting organizations.
Basketball Saskatchewan previously told Global News it has no affiliation with YAS.
The ministry spokesperson also said the ministry “typically responds to needs/issues expressed by sector stakeholders or groups/individuals using the services of that sector.”
“Government has not been made aware of issues that would require provincial regulation of sport camps.”
Busse, the City of Warman spokesperson, told Global News YAS contacted the city asking to rent facility space.
Busse said the city does not research individuals or organizations renting facility space.
He told Global News Warman does not screen applicants for criminal history but staff will look into how a criminal record check can be added to the rental process. He also said staff will look into what the best practice is in other municipalities regarding researching applicants and requiring anti-harassment training.
Global News reached out to the provincial government again for this story, asking if it would require municipalities to research applicants and to require anti-harassment training and criminal record checks and vulnerable sector checks.
The provincial government did not respond by deadline.
Without some sort of regulations in place, Silvia said she’s concerned Hall will keep trying to hold the camp and try to be around children.
“I’m worried about the greater reach in the province –northern communities, places that might not know that (YAS) is such an issue… I think about it a lot, that he’s not going to stop and that he’s going to continue to try and find space and try and hold these camps.”
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