Investigator hired to investigate allegations of gang sexual assaults involving 2003 World Juniors players

Warning: This story contains details of a sexual nature that may upset readers.

Hockey Canada is covering the costs of an independent investigator hired to investigate allegations that a group of men from the 2003 World Junior Hockey Team sexually assaulted a woman in Halifax at a tournament nearly two years ago decades.

As part of Hockey Canada’s stated plan to combat “toxic” behavior on and off the ice, Hockey Canada has created a new “independent third party” system to respond to complaints of sexual violence.

This new system hired Ottawa lawyer and sports investigator Jennifer White to find out what happened in 2003.

“My mandate is to make factual findings regarding the allegations and determine whether there has been a violation of applicable Hockey Canada policies,” White wrote in an email to CBC News.

White’s website says she specializes in police cases and is retained by organizations to make findings of fact on allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Hockey Canada has come under public scrutiny since May for its handling of sexual assault allegations. The federal government has frozen funding for the organization, major sponsors have suspended their support, and a parliamentary committee is holding public hearings on the issue.

A man who said he viewed video of the alleged 2003 sexual assault told CBC News it showed two gamers entering a hotel room where about six other gamers stood naked and masturbated around a very drunk woman while someone was penetrating her.

TSN first reported on the video and spoke with two other sources who said they had seen the footage.

Team Canada was in Halifax in early January 2003 for the finals; he won a silver medal. Almost every player on his star roster has played in the NHL, and some have had long careers there.

Halifax police are also investigating. CBC News recently reported that Halifax police received the names of at least two team members who were allegedly involved and later played in the NHL.

LOOK | A man reports an alleged sexual assault involving the World Juniors team:

Man reports alleged sexual assault involving members of 2003 World Juniors hockey team

Warning: This story contains details of a sexual nature that may upset readers. Disturbing details have emerged about an alleged gang sexual assault by some members of Canada’s 2003 World Juniors hockey team. A man who recently gave Halifax police the names of two players who may have be involved says he saw a recording nearly 20 years ago of the alleged incident.

White said his mandate is to find out what Hockey Canada knew and what steps it took to respond to it. White is writing a report for the independent third party (ITP) of the hockey organization, which hired her, she said.

Hockey Canada said that, in order to make the “process as independent as possible”, it only maintains a mandate with the ITP, which is led by attorney and investigator Erin Durant and private practice attorney Brian Ward. .

Durant and Ward are acting as case managers and hiring investigators to review cases, Hockey Canada said.

“Hockey Canada did not contribute to the selection of the investigator and reimbursed the ITP for the costs of the investigator,” Hockey Canada spokesperson Spencer Sharkley said in an email to CBC News.

A separate investigation by a criminal defense company is ongoing

Outside of this new system, Hockey Canada is paying directly for a separate investigation by well-known criminal defense firm Henein Hutchison into separate gang sexual assault allegations in London, Ontario involving members of the World Team. junior 2018.

Hockey Canada’s public scandal erupted in May after the settlement of a $3.5 million lawsuit brought by a woman who alleged that eight hockey players, including members of the 2018 World Juniors team, the had been sexually assaulted. She alleged that in 2018 the players bullied her, told her to take a shower after the alleged sexual assault and ordered her to pretend she was sober while they filmed a consent video. His allegations have not been proven in court.

Hockey Canada called Henein Hutchison for legal advice in 2018 after learning of the allegations and was advised to report the matter to the police, according to the law firm, which testified before a parliamentary committee.

The hockey organization then retained that same law firm for $287,000 to investigate the alleged sexual assault and identify any policy issues, Hockey Canada told the parliamentary committee.

Although Hockey Canada is insured against sexual assault claims, it maintained its own reserve fund – made up in part of hockey player registration fees – to pay for allegations it did not want to pass through its insurer. .

Paul Champ, Ottawa Lawyer tweeted that this approach kept the allegations quiet and spared Hockey Canada the experience of the “insurance company investigating and taking over the defense.” Hockey Canada officials said the organization did what it thought was best for the woman involved.

LOOK | Hockey Canada has paid 21 sexual misconduct settlements since 1989:

Hockey Canada has paid 21 sexual misconduct settlements since 1989

Hockey Canada officials have revealed the organization has paid nearly $9 million in settlements since 1989 to 21 people alleging sexual misconduct.

Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge told CBC The House last week, athletes told him they did not “fully trust” third-party surveys if they were paid directly by national sports organisations. Athletes felt “the process wasn’t independent enough,” she said.

In response, the federal government set aside $16 million over three years to launch an office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner to address abuse in sport. The office opened in late June with a mandate to independently oversee the complaints intake process, conduct preliminary investigations and maintain a sanctions database.

The office must currently dismiss complaints about Hockey Canada because the organization has not yet officially signed with the Integrity Commissioner.

White is also on the list of investigators who can be hired to investigate cases by the Sport Integrity Commissioner.

The commissioner contracts out investigative work and currently has a temporary roster of 12 investigators. The office said it plans to expand that list and come up with a permanent list later this month.

White is also on a roster of investigators for the New Brunswick Police Commission and is involved with that province’s Sex Crimes Task Force. She is also on a roster of investigators for the Sport Dispute Resolution Center of Canada., according to its website.

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