Manitoba

Former Winnipeg hockey coach found dead after being charged with sexual assault of players

A former Winnipeg hockey coach who was charged last month with sexual assault and child pornography offences, has been found dead.

Players said coach gave them money, alcohol then sexually assaulted them at his home

Former Winnipeg hockey coach Robert 'Bob' Donald Joseph Dawson was charged last month with sexual assault and child pornography offences. He was found dead on Wednesday in a hotel room in the city. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Former Winnipeg hockey coach Robert (Bob) Dawson, who was charged last month with sexual assault and child pornography offences, has been found dead, according to Winnipeg police. 

Dawson, 57, was arrested and charged on Sept. 1, following a three-month investigation that began after police were contacted in June by two people who said they were sexually assaulted by a man who coached their hockey team between 1993 and 1995.

The people were teenagers at the time and players in the Assiniboine Park Hockey Association, police said.

The police service's sex crimes unit secured a search warrant for Dawson's house on Lake Park Drive, in the city's Southdale neighbourhood, where Dawson was arrested.

Investigators had since spoken with a number of other individuals, including some who had come forward since the news of the arrest came out.

Dawson was found dead at a hotel in the St. James–Assiniboia area on Wednesday after police were called about a sudden death. Foul play is not suspected.

The two former players who made the original report, told police they were separately invited to Dawson's home, where he gave them money and alcohol and sexually assaulted them.

They further reported that the incidents had been photographed and videotaped at the time.

At the time of his arrest in September, Dawson was not believed to be coaching anymore. He was a practising lawyer, however, based out of his home.

To ensure none of his clients' rights were violated during the police search through materials in Dawson's home, a lawyer independent from him, police and the Crown was appointed to go through any items police wanted to seize and only provide those not protected by solicitor-client privilege.

Dawson was charged with one count of possessing child pornography and two counts of making, printing, publishing or possessing for the purpose of publication child pornography.

He was also charged with two counts each of sexual interference, sexual exploitation, sexual assault and forcible confinement.

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