Woman says she fully cooperated in investigation of alleged sexual assault involving world junior hockey players

The complainant, at the center of an alleged gang sexual assault that rocked Canada’s sports world, says she has fully cooperated with the police investigation into her case at all times, despite Hockey Canada’s original saying.

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, sexually assaulted, humiliated and humiliated her in a hotel room in London, Ont.

The statement of claim, which has not been proven in court, states that the hockey player brought golf clubs to the hotel room to intimidate her further, instructed the woman to take a bath after sexually assaulting her and told her that she was sober. , while he videotaped. consent video.

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

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

Hockey Canada issued a statement in May It is still on its website which describes the complainant as not being an accomplice in the London Police investigation.

“The person bringing forward the charges opted not to speak with either the police or Hockey Canada’s independent investigator and also chose not to identify the players involved,” the statement reads after TSN’s reporting on the matter. “It was their right and we fully respect their wishes.”

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A month later, Hockey Canada later corrected that statement, saying, “We later learned through her lawyer that she did in fact make a police complaint.”

Lie detector test results shared with police

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

“It was wrong to first report to the media that she did not contact or cooperate with the police,” Talch said in the statement.

He provided several new details about the case, including how his client spoke with a detective within days of the alleged sexual assault and a physical exam at a hospital.

Talach said his client later gave his clothes to police for investigation and met with officers on two other occasions over the summer. Seven months later, she was told that the investigation had been closed and that no charges would be filed.

After an outburst of public outrage, The police chief of London announced Last month that it would conduct an internal review to “determine whether, if any, additional investigative avenues exist”.

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

look | Hockey Canada has paid out 21 sexual misconduct settlements since 1989

Hockey Canada has paid 21 settlements for sexual misconduct since 1989

Hockey Canada officials revealed that the organization has paid out nearly $9 million in settlements since 1989 to 21 people accusing them of sexual misconduct.

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Complainant gave statement to Hockey Canada investigator

Meanwhile, Henin Hutchison, the well-known criminal defense law firm appointed by Hockey Canada to investigate, 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 move forward in my investigation,” Danielle Robitel, the firm’s partner and principal investigator, told lawmakers.

Robitail said the complainant – along with nine hockey players – said they would not participate in the law firm’s investigation until the police investigation was completed.

“Once the criminal proceedings are over, I focused my efforts on speaking to the complainant’s lawyer and trying to help him obtain that statement so that I can be ready to proceed with my investigation.”

“After 18 months of attempts that didn’t reach the place I expected, I closed the investigation without prejudice to reopening at a later date.”

Robitel said it concluded it should not interview the rest of the players without first speaking to the complainant.

Hockey Canada’s investigation was reopened last month amid intense public scrutiny and said it learned the woman would now make a statement. Sport Canada halted its funding and many High-profile sponsors including Scotiabank abandon their sponsorship deals,

According to Talach, the woman participated in the investigation by making a “comprehensive written statement” to Hockey Canada and the NHL on July 21.

Talach confirmed that his client would not sit down for interviews with Hockey Canada or NHL investigators because he had already provided an eight-page statement, five pages of photos and 4.5 pages of text messages.

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“We want his privacy to be respected and thank the Canadian public for their concern,” Talach said in a statement.

Attorney Danielle Robitel, partner at Henin Hutchison LLP, told a parliamentary committee in July that she closed her firm’s investigation in September 2020 ‘without prejudice to reopen it later’ because the complainant refused to give an account of what happened. refused. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Law expert says complainant may fear ‘unreliable treatment’

Distinguished Professor Julie MacFarlane at the University of Windsor said that participating in the hockey organization’s investigation would give credence to the complainant process.

She said Henin Hutchison is paid by Hockey Canada and is known for his work in criminal defense. MacFarlane said Robitel was a co-counsel in the Gian Ghomeshi trial in 2014, in which the firm engaged in the Gian Ghomeshi trial separated the statements of the complainants on the stand of the witness.

“The complainant here can reasonably assume that she will be subject to the same harsh antitrust treatment from this investigation,” MacFarlane said.

Hearing the testimony of Hockey Canada and Henin Hutchison to a parliamentary committee last week, MacFarlane said there was “a clear implication that somehow the “complainant” was at fault for being uncooperative.”

“The dismissal and disproportionate treatment she received at the hands of both the police and Hockey Canada is only designed to protect Hockey Canada again at her expense,” McFarlane said.

The complainant has signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as part of his settlement that restricts what he can say publicly about the matter. Prince Edward Island this year became the first province in Canada to limit the use of NDAs in sexual misconduct cases to prevent silencing of complainants.

MacFarlane campaigned for an end to the nondisclosure, saying it is possible that the complainant may be asked to sign another if interviewed by Hockey Canada or the NHL.

Robitail told the MPs that they had not seen the copy of the NDA that the complainant had signed as part of their settlement agreement. Hockey Canada’s board of directors agreed to pay up to $35 million to the claimant, the organization told lawmakers last week.

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