Hockey

Frost acquitted on all sexual exploitation charges

Former junior hockey coach and NHL player agent David Frost, who had been charged with four counts of sexual exploitation, was acquitted on Friday of all charges by an Ontario court judge in Napanee.

Former junior hockey coach and NHL player agent David Frost, who had been charged with four counts of sexual exploitation, was acquitted on Friday of all charges by an Ontario court judge in Napanee.

Frost was found not guilty by a judge, in cases arising from his term as coach of the junior A Quinte Hawks club in Eastern Ontario in 1996 and 1997.

The charges stemmed from alleged incidents involving two former Hawks players he coached.

The young women who dated the players when they were 16 gave emotional testimony during the trial, contending Frost masterminded and participated in sexual threesomes with the Hawks players and their teenage girlfriends.

One of the women said Frost, age 29 at the time, persisted in having group sex with her and her boyfriend for a number of years.

The defence conceded that group sex is common among hockey players, but vehemently denied Frost ever took part in the sex acts.

Judge Geoff Griffin of the Ontario Court of Justice cleared Frost of the charges, adding the trial "exposed a dark and very unhealthy side of hockey."

"It's extremely offensive and must be denounced," Griffin said in giving his verdict.

The women testified that Frost held great power over the young players and controlled every part of their lives, including telling them when they could have sex with their girlfriends and instructing them about specific positions.

Frost faced two counts alleging he directly or indirectly sexually touched the two players, while the other two counts alleged he instructed the players to sexually touch their girlfriends.

In his ruling, Griffin suggested the women's testimony was "possibly tainted by collusion."

Players testified for defence

Frost and the players involved have denied the allegations. In a twist, the former players — the alleged victims in the case — appeared as witnesses for the defence.

Defence lawyer Marie Henein said the charges against Frost arose out of collusion between the two women. Henein also indicated to one of the women during cross-examination that the alleged threesomes involving Frost and her boyfriend were a "figment of your imagination."

"They happened," the woman replied. "I'm not making this up. Why would I make this up?"

After the verdict was announced, the sister of one of the women sitting right behind Frost called him a "scumball," according to The Fifth Estate's Bob McKeown.

Frost then turned to the woman and swore at her before walking out of the courthouse toward the parking lot.

"He was surrounded by people with microphones and cameras but didn't say anything," said McKeown. "He was just as stoic as he ever was."

The players cannot be named because they were minors at the time of the events.

Under the Criminal Code, it is an offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison for someone in a position of authority over a young person aged 16 or 17 to touch the young person, or to "invite, counsel or incite" them to touch another person, for a sexual purpose.

The father of former NHL player Mike Danton, who is currently in prison for a failed murder-for-hire plot that allegedly targeted Frost, was upset about the verdict.

"I'm not happy about the verdict at all, it's disgusting," said Steve Jefferson, who is estranged from Danton.

With files from the Canadian Press