Sport Canada knew of Crew Canada sexual assault allegations in 2018 however didn’t inform authorities

OTTAWA — Michel Ruest, a senior director of Sport Canada, says the federal group was made conscious of an alleged sexual assault involving members of Crew Canada’s world junior hockey group in late June 2018, however didn’t comply with up with Hockey Canada on the time.

Beneath questioning at a Home of Commons committee Tuesday, Ruest additionally informed MPs that Sport Canada, a department of Canadian Heritage, didn’t make then-sport minister Kent Hehr’s workplace conscious of the allegations.

Present Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge has mentioned she didn’t know of the allegations till this yr.

Sport Canada officers have been known as to testify because the Commons heritage committee investigates what occurred between June 2018, when Hockey Canada, the nationwide governing physique, realized of the allegations, and Might of this yr, when information broke that it settled a lawsuit with the complainant.

A number of MPs grilled them about why Hockey Canada’s funding was not reduce earlier than June of this yr, and why there was no follow-up on the case.

The girl on the centre of the grievance alleges she was sexually assaulted in an incident involving eight hockey gamers, together with some members of the 2018 world junior group, after a Hockey Canada gala in London, Ont.

A lawyer from the agency conducting a third-party investigation into the allegations informed MPs on the committee that she is unable to reply all of their questions.

Danielle Robitaille, a companion at Henein Hutchison LLP, mentioned Hockey Canada informed her that some data is protected by solicitor-client privilege and that sure questions may undermine the integrity of the continuing investigation.

Robitaille mentioned Hockey Canada contacted her agency after the alleged assault in June 2018 and that the preliminary investigation was closed as a result of the complainant didn’t present a press release. The complainant subsequently filed a lawsuit this spring.

Robitaille mentioned the complainant has now given her “detailed model of occasions,” enabling investigators to interview 9 extra gamers who have been on the occasion and had declined to be interviewed in 2018.

Hockey Canada has been underneath intense scrutiny since information of its settlement in response to the complainant’s lawsuit was first reported in Might, and that grew as one other allegation associated to the 2003 group surfaced final week.

Robitaille mentioned she was contacted in 2018 by Glen McCurdie, Hockey Canada’s former vice-president of insurance coverage and danger administration, and that her recommendation to him was to contact the London Police Service.

She mentioned she was then given a mandate to conduct an unbiased investigation, and interviewed 10 of the 19 gamers who have been current on the occasion.

Robitaille mentioned the remaining 9 gamers declined to be interviewed due to an ongoing police investigation on the time, and he or she decided that she mustn’t interview them till she had the complainant’s model of occasions.

When Robitaille realized by way of the complainant’s lawyer that she deliberate to take part, she contacted Hockey Canada and requested for a mandate to reopen the investigation.

“I’m involved with counsel for the gamers and I anticipate to be scheduling interviews imminently,” she informed the Commons committee.

“I’m nicely geared up to proceed this investigation.”

Hockey Canada has mentioned participant participation is necessary.

“I hope that I’ll obtain voluntary compliance with my investigation,” Robitaille mentioned, however added that Hockey Canada supplied her with an additional instrument as a result of anybody who doesn’t participate can be banned from its actions and applications.

These bans can be made public, Robitaille mentioned.

London police have reopened their investigation, and the NHL and NHL Gamers’ Affiliation are additionally investigating.

The complainant’s lawsuit sought simply over $3.5 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and eight unnamed gamers. Hockey Canada settled the case rapidly for an undisclosed quantity.

Particulars of the settlement, together with the identities of the complainant and the boys concerned, haven’t been made public.

Throughout a June committee listening to, Hockey Canada officers mentioned that they had no information of what occurred the night time of the alleged assault and didn’t know the identities of the gamers concerned.

Robitaille wouldn’t say whether or not the eight gamers who’re alleged to have been concerned within the sexual assault have been among the many 9 who didn’t participate within the investigation in 2018, however she informed the committee there have been two causes she felt she was not in a position to proceed her interviews.

Robitaille mentioned first, she felt that she couldn’t full her seek for the reality with out listening to from the complainant.

Second, she mentioned, “As a matter of due course of I couldn’t interview gamers with out giving them honest discover of what was alleged in opposition to them.”

Numerous males who have been a part of that group have publicly acknowledged that they weren’t concerned within the alleged assault and that they took half within the investigations.

Robitaille mentioned as a result of Hockey Canada didn’t give her permission to waive solicitor-client privilege, she was unable to reply among the committee’s questions.

That included a query from New Democrat MP Peter Julian about whether or not Crew Canada workers and coaches took half within the investigation.

The committee chair directed her to waive privilege, and Robitaille mentioned seven coaches and workers took half, though she was undecided what number of of these have been coaches.

She additionally was unable to inform the committee what was contained in her agency’s interim report, besides to say that it suggested Hockey Canada of coverage points that might be addressed. She mentioned one of many suggestions pertained to alcohol.

Hockey Canada launched a plan Monday to rid the game of “poisonous tradition,” together with necessary chaperones for underage athletes at Hockey Canada occasions to implement curfews and guarantee no alcohol is consumed. Hockey Canada additionally mentioned it’s going to now not host “open bar” occasions.

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