Woman says she is fully cooperating with investigation into alleged sexual abuse involving World Junior hockey players | UKTN News


The complainant at the center of an alleged sexual assault by a group that has shocked Canada’s sports world says she has fully cooperated with a police investigation into her case at all times, despite Hockey Canada initially saying she hadn’t. done.

The woman filed a $3.5 million lawsuit in April alleging that in 2018, eight hockey players, including members of Canada’s World Junior team, had sexually assaulted, humiliated and humiliated her in a hotel room in London, Ontario.

The statement of claim, which has not been proven in court, said the hockey players had brought golf clubs to the hotel room to further intimidate her, told her to shower after the assault and told her to say she was sober while getting a permit. recorded video.

As first reported by the Globe and Mail on Tuesday, the complainant’s lawyer, Robert Talach, issued a statement saying that in June 2018 his client was clear to police that she wanted criminal charges.

“This woman has fully engaged in and cooperated with all legal and formal investigations surrounding these events,” Talach wrote in a statement shared with UKTN News.

Hockey Canada issued a statement in May it still says on its website, which describes the complainant’s non-cooperation with the London police investigation.

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“The person raising the allegations chose not to speak to the police or Hockey Canada’s independent investigator, and also chose not to identify the players involved,” the statement said. the case. “This was her right and we fully respect her wishes.”

A month later, Hockey Canada later corrected that statement, saying, “We subsequently learned through her attorney that she did indeed file a complaint with the police.”

Lie detector test results shared with police

Talach said he believes Hockey Canada made an “honest mistake” but that the statement was reported “over and over” in the media and needed to be addressed.

“Previous media reports that she did not approach or cooperate with the police were incorrect,” Talach wrote in the statement.

He provided a range of new details on the case, including that his client spoke to a detective within days of the alleged assault and had a physical examination done at a hospital.

His client also gave her clothes to the police for investigation and met two more occasions that summer, Talach said. After seven months, she was told that the investigation was closed and that no charges would be filed.

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After an outburst of public outcry, London Police Chief Announced last month that it would conduct an internal review to “determine any additional avenues of inquiry.”

Talach said his law firm set up a lie detector test for the woman and she passed. The results have since been provided to the police and investigators from Hockey Canada and the NHL, who started their own investigation in May.

WATCH: Hockey Canada has paid 21 sexual misconduct settlements since 1989:

Hockey Canada has paid 21 settlements for sexual misconduct since 1989

Hockey Canada officials revealed that since 1989, the organization has paid nearly $9 million in settlements to 21 people who claimed to have committed sexual misconduct.

Complainant made statement to Hockey Canada investigator

Meanwhile, the well-known criminal defense law firm hired by Hockey Canada to investigate, Henein Hutchison, told a parliamentary committee last week that it had closed its investigation because the complainant would not participate.

“I needed her version of events to advance my investigation,” Danielle Robitaille, the company’s partner and principal investigator, told MPs.

Robitaille said the complainant – along with nine hockey players – said they would not participate in the law firm’s investigation until the police investigation is complete.

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“Once the criminal proceedings were concluded, I focused my efforts on speaking to the complainant’s counsel and attempting to obtain that statement so that I would be equipped to proceed with my investigation… after 18 months of “Those efforts hadn’t arrived on the scene. As I had hoped, I closed the investigation without prejudice to reopening at a later date,” she said.

Hockey Canada’s investigation was reopened last month amid intense public inquiry and said the woman would now make a statement. Sport Canada froze its funding and several high-profile sponsors, including Scotiabank, have terminated their sponsorship deals.

The woman joined the investigation by making a “comprehensive written statement” to Hockey Canada and the NHL on July 21, Talach said.

Talach confirmed that his client will not sit for an interview with Hockey Canada or the NHL investigators, as she has already provided an 8-page statement, five pages of photos and 4.5 pages of text messages.

“We ask that you continue to respect her privacy and thank the Canadian public for their concern,” Talach wrote in a statement.

Lawyer Danielle Robitaille, partner of Henein Hutchison LLP, told a parliamentary committee in July that she closed her firm’s investigation in September 2020 “without prejudice to reopening it later” because the complainant refused to give her account of what happened. has happened. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Lawyer says complainant may be concerned about ‘witness whacking’

Julie Macfarlane, a distinguished professor emerita at the University of Windsor, said the complainant who participated in the hockey organization’s investigations would lend credibility to the trial.

She said Henein Hutchison is paid by Hockey Canada and is known for his work in criminal defense. Robitaille was the co-counsel in the Jian Ghomeshi trial in 2014, which dealt with “witness slapping” during the trial. The technique involves a harsh cross-examination that dismembers the complainant’s statements on the witness stand, Macfarlane said.

“The complainant here could reasonably assume that she would undergo the same harsh infidel treatment as this investigation,” Macfarlane said.

Listening to Hockey Canada and Henein Hutchison testifying in a parliamentary committee last week, Macfarlane said there was a “clear implication that the complainant was somehow guilty of not cooperating”.

“Given the disdainful and unsympathetic treatment she has received from both the police and Hockey Canada, it appears to be aimed at protecting Hockey Canada once again at its expense,” MacFarlane said.

The complainant has signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as part of her settlement that publicly limits what she can say about the case. Prince Edward Island this year became the first province in Canada to restrict the use of NDAs in sexual misconduct cases to avoid silencing complainants.

Macfarlane is campaigning to end nondisclosure agreements and said it is possible the complainant could be asked to sign another statement if interviewed by Hockey Canada or the NHL.

Robitaille told MPs she had not seen a copy of the NDA the complainant had signed as part of her settlement agreement. Hockey Canada’s board of directors agreed to pay the plaintiff up to $3.5 million, the organization told MPs last week.

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