Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Devils’ Michael McLeod charged with two counts of sexual assault amid investigation into multiple NHL players

Amid an investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving members of Canada’s 2018 gold medal-winning junior team, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, New Jersey Devils forward Michael McLeod, Devils defenseman Cal FooteCalgary Flames forward Dillon Dube and former Ottawa Senators draft pick Alex Formenton have all been charged with sexual assault. 

On Monday, the London Police Service announced in a press conference that McLeod has been charged with two counts of sexual assault, while Hart, Foote, Dube and Formenton are all being charged with one count of sexual assault.

All five players had their first court appearance Monday. 

London Police Service Chief Thai Truong described the case as a “lengthy and complex process,” and stated that Monday’s charges serve as a “critical step” in the case.

Attorneys representing Hart, McLeod, Foote and Dube announced last week that each player had been charged with sexual assault by London, Ontario police. On behalf of their clients, they have denied the players committed such a crime.

“He is innocent and will provide a full response to this false accusation in the proper forum, a court of law,” Hart’s lawyers, Megan Savard and Riaz Sayani, said in a statement.

Legal representation for McLeod and Dube also stated their clients would be pleading not guilty to their respective charges.

“[We] will vigorously defend the case,” McLeod’s lawyers, David Humphrey and Seth Weinstein, said in a statement. “We ask that the public respect Mr. McLeod’s privacy, and his family’s privacy. Because the matter is now before the court, we will not comment further at this time.”

Dube’s attorneys, Louis Strezos and Kayleigh Davidson, stated that their client “maintains his innocence [and] will defend the allegations in court.”

“We have now become aware of the charge of sexual assault that has been laid against Dillon Dube,” the Flames said in a statement after the charge was made public. “We take this matter very seriously. Because the matter is now pending legal proceedings, we will have no further comment at this time.”

In addition, Foote’s lawyer, Julianna Greenspan, stated that Foote is “innocent of the charge and will defend himself against this allegation to clear his name.”

Formenton’s attorney, Daniel Brown, stated that his client is innocent, and he “asks that people not rush to judgment without hearing all of the evidence.”

Before the charges were made public, all five players took a leave of absence from their respective teams.

London, Ontario police began an investigation back in 2022 after it was revealed that Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior team following a Hockey Canada Foundation gala.

Per court documents, the victim, who was 20 years old at the time, alleged that a man, “John Doe #1,” took her back to a hotel room, and invited seven other individuals in that hotel room to engage in sexual acts. The woman stated in the lawsuit that the men asked her to take a shower and say that she was sober in a recorded message.

As a result, the woman sought $3.55 million in damages and ended up settling with Hockey Canada.

The NHL launched its own investigation in 2022 and stated it would make the results public. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that the league would release a statement once it was appropriate.

The Flyers and Devils both granted leave of absences to their players in late January and didn’t give a reason as to why those were being awarded. However, the Flames released a statement saying Dube was taking a leave of absence to deal with his mental health.

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