Hockey Canada resolves extrajudicial assault case

Hockey Canada resolves extrajudicial assault case

A woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight Canadian Hockey League players, including members of the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the 2017-18 Junior World Cup, has agreed to drop a lawsuit against the players, Hockey Canada, and the CHL. after reaching an agreement.

This is what the journalist says TSN Rick Westhead, Thursday.

The woman, whose allegations are detailed in court papers filed at the Ontario Superior Court in London on April 20, claimed she was repeatedly assaulted while drunk in a hotel room after a Hockey Foundation gala and golf event. Canada in June 2018.

Hockey Canada and the CHL were named as defendants in the case, along with eight unnamed CHL players “including, but not limited to, members of Canada’s under-20 men’s junior hockey team.” The hockey players are identified in the 18-page statement as John Does 1-8.

The accusations against the players were never proven in court and none of the defendants gave a statement.

The plaintiff, identified in court records as “EM,” asked a judge to award him $3.55 million, including $2 million in past and future money damages, $1 million in liquidated damages – punitive interest, $300,000 in pain and suffering and $50,000 for mental and emotional damages. stress.

Robert Talach, the London-based attorney for the plaintiff, confirmed to TSN that his client had agreed to a settlement in the case. He declined to say whether the woman had signed a confidentiality agreement as part of her settlement.

“Plaintiff is pleased with the outcome and relieved that this difficult matter has been concluded,” Talach wrote in an email to TSN on Tuesday. “She has nothing more to add and, by his wish, requests her privacy and her wish not to be identified. »

The woman, now 24, also alleged in the statement that Hockey Canada was aware of the alleged attacks and failed to investigate or discipline the players involved.

Hockey Canada spokeswoman Esther Madziya said the organization had informed London police of the allegations.

“Hockey Canada is deeply concerned about serious allegations of sexual assault involving members of the 2017-18 Junior National Hockey Team,” Madziya wrote in a statement to TSN. “As soon as Hockey Canada learned of this case in 2018, we contacted local law enforcement authorities to let them know. On the same day, we also retained the services of Henein Hutchison LLP, a firm with extensive experience in this area, to conduct a thorough and independent internal investigation and make recommendations for improvements that we have implemented and will continue to implement. »

“The person who made the allegations chose not to speak to police or Hockey Canada’s independent investigator and also chose not to identify the players involved. It was his right and we fully respect his wish. We have resolved this issue and as part of that settlement, we will not comment further. »

London Police Department spokeswoman Sandasha Bough wrote in a statement to TSN that the department does not comment on alleged criminal investigations.

“The London Police Service is committed to fully investigating all allegations of sexual assault,” Bough wrote. Together with our community partners, we will fully support those who come forward and encourage anyone who has experienced sexual violence to report the incident to the police so that the matter can be investigated. »

CHL president Dan MacKenzie wrote in a statement that the league learned of the lawsuit in early May and was “deeply concerned about the allegations.”

“Hockey Canada has informed us that they have resolved the matter and will have no further comment,” MacKenzie wrote.

According to the lawsuit, the alleged assaults took place in the early hours of June 19, 2018, at a two-day Hockey Canada event in London, where the 2017-18 Junior World Team was honored for winning gold by beating Sweden 3 -1 in the final on January 5 in Buffalo.

According to the lawsuit, the John Doe defendants attended a Hockey Canada Foundation gala on June 18 and after the event went to Jack’s Yard, a bar and restaurant in central London. The claim says the complainant arrived at the bar at 11 pm, where she met a hockey player, not listed as a defendant, who introduced her to John Doe 1 and his teammates.

The accused players reportedly paid for several alcoholic drinks for the woman and she left her friends, getting increasingly drunk as the night went on.

The complainant said she showed clear signs of intoxication, including “glassy eyes, slurred speech, and loss of balance” when she left the bar with one of the players, John Doe 1, and accompanied him to the Delta London Armories hotel. After having sex with him, John Doe 1 “invited the rest of John Doe’s defendants into the room without plaintiff’s knowledge or consent,” according to the suit.

According to the lawsuit, the players ordered him to caress their genitals and perform oral sex on them. The players would also have straddled the complainant while placing their genitals on her face, hitting the complainant’s buttocks, spitting on her, ejaculating inside her and on her, in particular, having vaginal intercourse with her.

“Throughout the assaults, Plaintiff experienced a lifelong fear of imminent physical harm of a sexual nature,” the lawsuit read in Plaintiff’s Mind. The John Doe defendants exercised total control over the plaintiff and isolated her from others. The number of men and the fact that golf clubs had been brought into the room further intimidated the author. As a result, the plaintiff consented to her repeated sexual acts and the instruction of her to participate in them, but this in no way constituted valid consent under the law on the part of the plaintiff. »

The complainant claimed that she was too drunk to give proper consent.

“At times, the complainant would cry and attempt to leave the room, but was directed, manipulated, and intimidated into staying, after which she was subjected to further sexual assaults,” the suit says.

The complainant alleged that the players’ actions constituted a conspiracy because the players encouraged her to drink alcohol, isolated her from her friends, performed sexual acts on her, pressured her not to leave when she made an effort to do so, allegedly ordered her too to say she was sober during a video recording and ordered her to shower after the sexual assaults.

She also alleged that the defendants pressured her not to report the players to the police and not to cooperate with a criminal investigation after it was opened.

As a result of the alleged assaults, the plaintiff suffered mental anguish, humiliation, degradation, shame, and low self-esteem, the lawsuit argued. He also said the incident hampered his ability to complete his education, work, and develop intimate relationships. He also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, depression, and suicidal ideation, according to the claim.

“The complainant was required to undergo medical treatment and psychological counseling and will continue to need it indefinitely throughout her life,” the lawsuit adds.

The NHL reacted later Thursday night to this file stating that it had been reported 48 hours ago.

“With our efforts, we will determine the underlying facts, and if it ever, by extension, could affect the players who are now in the NHL, we will determine what action, if any, would be appropriate. »

The lawsuit alleges that Hockey Canada, the governing body for amateur hockey in Canada, “ignored or failed to reasonably address institutionalized and systemic abuses.” »

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