Sports minister orders investigation after Hockey Canada settles sex assault lawsuit

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OTTAWA - Canada's sports minister has ordered a forensic audit of Hockey Canada after the organization recently settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by multiple members of Canada's 2018 world junior hockey team.

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OTTAWA – Canada’s sports minister has ordered a forensic audit of Hockey Canada after the organization recently settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by multiple members of Canada’s 2018 world junior hockey team.

Pascale St-Onge said she was “shocked and angry” and said an investigation will be carried out to ensure public funds were not used in an out-of-court settlement to “cover up” the story.

TSN was the first to report on the lawsuit.

The plaintiff, identified as “E.M.” in court records, claimed she was repeatedly assaulted while intoxicated in a London, Ont. hotel room in 2018 following a Hockey Canada event honouring the gold medal-winning junior team.

The woman, now 24, was seeking $3.55 million in damages.

Details of the settlement were not released.

None of the allegations against the players have been proven in court.

Bloc Québécois MP Sébastien Lemire, who introduced Thursday’s motion in the House of Commons calling for an investigation, said he was “outraged” by the allegations.

“How do we learn (about this) four years after the fact?” he asked. “Have we covered up charges of sex scandal allegations involving Hockey Canada players?”

St-Onge said Canadians deserve to know the truth.

In a statement released on May 26, Hockey Canada said the plaintiff chose not to speak with the both the police and Hockey Canada’s independent investigator.

The organization also said the woman did not want to identify the players involved.

“This was her right and we fully respect her wishes,” the statement said.

The National Hockey League also launched an investigation into the allegations.

“We will endeavour to determine the underlying facts and, to the extent this may involve players who are now in the NHL, we will determine what action, if any, would be appropriate,” the league said in statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2022.

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