Five Canadian ice hockey players have been charged with sexual harassment in a new investigation six years after the initial allegations. Canadian police apologize to the complainant for taking so long to investigate.
Four of the five accused players currently play in the country’s National Hockey League. Canadian police confirmed on Monday that they have charged a total of five ice hockey players. These five players were members of the 2018 junior hockey team.
The allegations first came to light in June 2018. The woman who complained said she was sexually assaulted by members of the ice hockey team in a hotel room in London, Ontario, Canada.
The case was dropped by the police in 2019, but the investigation was reopened in 2022. The police apologized for the delay on Monday.
At a press conference, police chief Thai Truong said, “I apologize to the victim, to his family, for the time it took for the investigation by the London Police Service.” It shouldn’t have taken so long. It is not right that so many years have passed to reach today’s result. We promise, and I’m sure it won’t happen again.’
Allegations of sexual harassment
Five players — Carter Hart, Michael McLeod, Cal Foote, Dillon Dube and Alex Formenton — surrendered to authorities last week. Four of them are currently players in the country’s National Hockey League, but are now ‘on leave’. Formington plays in Switzerland.
In addition to one charge of sexual harassment against each of them, McLeod faces another charge of criminal conspiracy. All five have denied all allegations.
Chief of Police Truong spoke for 45 minutes with reporters in London. He did not give any information about why the investigation was started again after three years after the initial cancellation.
Detective Sergeant Catherine Dunn, who works in the Sexual Harassment and Child Abuse Unit, took over the investigation, which reopened in 2022. According to him, new documentary information was not available during the investigation, which ended in 2019.
The probe said they had ‘reasonable and probable’ grounds for filing charges, which could lead to imprisonment for the accused if convicted. The case started on Monday and will continue till April 30.
Hockey Canada, the national federation, said in a statement that it was “cooperating fully” with police. But at the press conference, a journalist questioned whether the preliminary investigation had found any connection with any federation leader or not.
Hockey Canada president and CEO Kathryn Henderson said in a statement, “Hockey Canada recognizes that we have been slow to take action in the past.” The meaningful change that Canadians expect from us requires immediate action. By doing so, we regain the trust of the people and most importantly ensure a safe environment for the participants during the game and elsewhere.’