Police Chief Apologizes in Hockey Sex Assault Case

Chief 'not happy' it took nearly 6 years for arrests to be made
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2024 2:00 AM CST
Police Apologize to Woman in Hockey Sex Assault Case
Canada's Cal Foote dives to save a puck from crossing the goal line as goalie Carter Hart, left, reacts during the third period of IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary round hockey action against Finland in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017.   (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

It took more than five years for the NHL players accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Ontario in 2018 to be arrested, and now Canadian police are apologizing to the woman. "I want to extend, on behalf of the London Police Service, my sincerest apology to the victim, to her family, for the amount of time that it has taken to reach this point," the city of London's police chief said Monday, per CTV News. "It's not something, as the chief of police, that I am happy about, that it took six years." Police initially closed the case months after it was opened due to "insufficient grounds" for criminal charges, then reopened it in 2022. The Guardian reports police have now admitted "they failed to fully collect evidence" the first time around.

The chief said it would be "completely inappropriate" to further explain the delay in reopening the case, though, due to concerns it could "jeopardize" the case. New evidence uncovered since the case was reopened led to the charges, he said. Meanwhile, lawyers for the five defendants—all of whom were members of Canada's 2018 World Junior Championships team and went on to play in the NHL—appeared in court for the first time Monday via video conference. None of the accused entered pleas, but their attorneys have previously denied the charges against them. (More on the case here.)

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