Police details in court documents outline alleged sexual assault involving 5 world junior hockey players
WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence
WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.
New court documents that include interview transcripts and search warrant requests reveal why police investigators say they have reasonable grounds to accuse five World Junior hockey players of sexually assaulting a woman in a London, Ont., hotel room in 2018.
Details of the documents were first published in the Globe and Mail, which went to court to have them unsealed. CBC News obtained them independently Sunday from the Crown. Some of the material in the 94-page package that was submitted in Oct. has been redacted, including the names of those involved and specific sex acts.
None of the police allegations have been proven in court and no charges have been laid. The case was closed by London Police in 2018, but reopened again in 2022. Hockey Canada and the NHL are also investigating the incident.
The documents provide details of how the morning of June 19, 2018 unfolded from the perspective of the victim, who is referred to as E.M., and the subsequent guilt and shame she expressed to her mother, friend and later a police investigator.
The court filings also reveal that the man referred to as Player #1, who took E.M. back to his hotel room after meeting her for the first time at a downtown London bar, sent text messages to other players who would later come to the room where the alleged assaults took place.
He would also film two videos of E.M. in the hotel room where he would ask if she was OK. In one video she is wiping her eyes and slurring her words, the document said. E.M. told police she believed the video was taken at the end of the night and she had no recollection of it.
"The two video clips made by Player #1 were created, according to E.M., to protect against her going to police," wrote London Police Sgt. David Younan, who prepared the court application. "Player #1 even asked her if she was planning on going to the police ... and asked she fix things with police."
Player #1 told police that E.M. offered a specific sex act and that he recorded one of the videos before it happened. Player #1 told police he "was worried something like this — in reference to the police investigation — would happen," the court filing said.
E.M.'s mother called the London Police Service's non-emergency line after finding her daughter crying in the shower, "seated clasping her knees and rocking back and forth," after she returned home from the hotel.
Her husband then contacted Hockey Canada, the documents said. He talked to someone at the organization, a name that was redacted from the documents, and provided them with a photo of Player #1.
Drinking at Jack's
In a two-hour interview with London Police in 2018, E.M. described how she went with a friend to Jack's bar in London, Ont., and met Player #1. She said she did not know he was a hockey player or part of the world junior team, and at first was not told his real name.
The team was in the city at the time for a charity golf tournament.
E.M. describes drinking two coolers before arriving at the bar, then recalls having eight Jagerbomb shots, one vodka soda and one beer. She said she was intoxicated and fell going into the bathroom.
"E.M. said when she needed to attend the washroom, she would get an escort which, in retrospect, she felt was strange ... In hindsight, E.M. believe Player #1 did not want her to leave his sights."
In her interview, she also recalls an "older gentleman" who was buying rounds for the group and poured a "Jagerbomb in her mouth. The man was praising Player #1 and told E.M. to 'take care of him.'"
Player #1 said he thought E.M.'s "sobriety was fine," the court filing said.
In the hotel room
The documents show that E.M and Player #1 returned to the hotel room and had consensual sex, according to the victim's statements to police and an interview with Player #1. But when E.M. returned from the washroom, she said there were approximately seven or eight men in the room with her.
In his interview, Player #1 said he texted teammates to come over and described E.M. as "flirty" when they were in the room with her.
E.M. told police she was told to lie on the ground, and while the specific sex acts were redacted in the shared document, she described how "the group approached her and started to slap her buttocks and 'it was actually starting to hurt so I told them to stop.'"
There were also references made by the group to golf clubs and balls, which were in the room, with E.M. recalling she "objected verbally by saying 'no.'"
"The group of guys were talking around her and about her, but not with her. The group of guys were saying things like 'you do this, and you do this,'" Sgt. Younan wrote. "E.M. felt the word 'object' correctly portrayed her feelings that night when the word was put to her."
Interviews with a number of the players cited the fact that they were celebrating their 2018 win at the World Juniors and at least one player was in town for a ring ceremony. A player said his roommate — believed to be Player #1 — told him that there was a girl in their hotel room who wanted specific sex acts.
One of the players said that player #1 asked if any of them wanted specific sex acts in his room and two players responded yes, the court filing said based on the player's interviews.
Player #1 confirmed he later searched for E.M. on Instagram after Hockey Canada told him there had been a report to police.
The court filing includes a text message exchange between E.M. and player #1 in which he repeatedly asks E.M. to make the matter "go away."
"Ok so can you please figure out how to make this go away and contact the police," player #1 texted E.M., according to the court filing. "What can you do to make this go away ... Ok so you are putting an end to this right?"
Request for hotel access
Sgt. Younan also requested a judge grant access to the Delta hotel room where the alleged assaults took place in order to evaluate the evidence that the victim felt the exit was blocked by the men.
Police also want access to three thumb drives that police believe contain text messages between players. The devices, the documents show, were given to police by four players through their lawyers.
His final request was to be given the "fruits of the independent investigation" conducted by the Toronto law firm Henein Hutchinson LLP into the case, on behalf of its client, Hockey Canada.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.
With files from Philip Ling