Kim Sutherland retires as Street Culture Project CEO amidst investigation

Amidst an investigation into serious allegations about toxic behavior at Street Culture Project in Regina, the organization announced the retirement of CEO Kim Sutherland on Thursday.

Sutherland was placed on leave in August, as the non-profit organization hired a third-party investigator to look into allegations of sexual assault against some of its employees.

Read more: Harassment claims: Regina’s Street Culture Project suspends senior executive

Sutherland’s retirement was announced in a news release on Facebook, where he said planning for his retirement has been in the works for more than four years.

“Given recent allegations and the ensuing investigation, the time to close this chapter for me is now,” Sutherland said in the release.

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“I will continue to respect the due process of the investigation underway through my full cooperation and my silence.”

Sutherland spent close to 25 years with the organization, after he created Street Culture in 1996, according to the release.

Read more: Regina’s Street Culture Project launches investigation following sexual harassment allegation

“It has been my honour to have served my community by leading Street Culture for over two decades,” Sutherland said.

“I am proud of the organization and the positive impact we’ve had supporting thousands of youth through cooperative partnerships with other community-based organizations.”

In July, allegations against Street Culture executive director Dustin Browne surfaced on the Survivor’s Stories Regina Instagram page, which shared survivor stories of women who claim they have been sexually harassed or assaulted. That page has since been deleted.

The anonymous poster said they dealt with “near-daily sexual harassment” while working for the organization, including from someone they claimed was “my serial sexual harasser.”

Read more: Support for Victims Voices Regina gains momentum on social media

A day later, Browne commented on the Instagram post from his personal social media account, outing himself as the alleged accused and apologizing to any victims.

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He has since resigned after being suspended by Street Culture Project.

Two weeks ago, the board announced Scott Cruickshank as acting CEO, until a permanent replacement is found.

“Because we have an interim CEO we have plenty of time to hire a replacement,” said Joey Tremblay, Street Culture Board Chair.

Scott Cruickshank told Global News in an email Friday, that the investigation is unaltered by Sutherland’s retirement.

Sutherland’s retirement gives the organization the opportunity to move forward, Cruickshank added, working towards reparation and a culture shift, with the support of the YWCA.

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“We have wonderfully committed and passionate staff that are continuing to do the critical work they do despite some of the limbo that comes from being in the middle of such a process,” Cruickshank said.

“Working in an agency going through a process like this can be difficult because there are things, we have no power over until the investigation is done.  We want to acknowledge the dedication and commitment our frontline staff have to the youth we serve.”

When the investigation is complete around the beginning of November, Cruickshank said the board has committed to acting on the recommendations.

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— With files from Chinenye Anokwuru

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