Canada Police Reopen Criminal Probe Into Hockey Gang Rape Allegations
Canadian police said Friday they have reopened a criminal investigation into allegations of a 2018 gang rape by eight hockey players, some of whom went on to play in the NHL.
London, Ontario police chief Steve Williams said a review this week of its original eight-month probe, which ended in February 2019 without charges, found “further investigative opportunities.”
“The criminal investigation has been reopened to allow those opportunities to be explored,” Williams said in a statement, without providing further details.
The gang rape accusations were revealed last month after questions were raised about Hockey Canada’s settlement of a lawsuit filed by the alleged victim in April.
The suit was filed against Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and the players, some of whom represented Canada at the 2018 World Junior Hockey championships.
The woman, identified only as “E.M.” in court documents, claimed to have been sexually assaulted at a London, Ontario hotel after a Hockey Canada gala in June 2018.
Lawyers representing several of the players accused but not named in the lawsuit have reportedly denied any wrongdoing, saying the sex was consensual.
The fallout has included the suspension of federal funding for Hockey Canada, along with a strong rebuke by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for its mishandling of the allegations and apparent “willful blindness” to sexual misconduct.
The national governing body has apologized for having “not done enough to address the actions of some members of the 2018 national junior team or to end the culture of toxic behavior within our game.”
It also relaunched an internal investigation of the allegations, and mandated all coaches and players attend training on sexual violence and consent.
Earlier Friday, Hockey Canada called for a separate criminal investigation into an “alleged group sexual assault” it says it was recently made aware of involving members of its national junior team at the World Junior Championships in 2003.
No names were linked to that alleged incident, but the 2002-03 Canadian squad included several players who went on to have notable careers in the National Hockey League.