2 uOttawa hockey players charged with sex assault
Two former University of Ottawa hockey players have been charged in connection with an alleged sex assault on a 21-year-old woman at a Thunder Bay, Ont. hotel, police announced Friday.
The men, both of Gatineau, Que., were players with the now-suspended Gee-Gees varsity hockey team at the time of the sexual assault, which unfolded in the early morning hours of Feb. 2, 2014.
The Ottawa team was in Thunder Bay for the weekend for two games against Lakehead University.
Charged with sexual assault are: 24-year-old Guillaume Donovan and 25-year-old David Foucher. Donovan was a forward on the team and he majored in geography, while Foucher played defence and studied human kinetics.
The two suspects were charged in Ottawa this week after an investigation by Thunder Bay police, with assistance from Ottawa police and the RCMP.
Investigators travelled to Ottawa in March to interview team members, Thunder Bay police said in a statement.
"It was a very complex investigation given the two locations and the fact that the incident occurred here in Thunder Bay but these individuals had travelled from Ottawa," police spokesperson Chris Adams said.
"The work in actually being able to track down essentially as many people as possible from the hockey team or anyone connected to that hockey team in Ottawa, took quite a bit of leg work.”
The two suspects were released from custody and will appear in a Thunder Bay court on Sept. 30.
“The charges do not affect the University’s decision to suspend the men’s hockey program for the 2014-2015 season. That decision followed our review of an independent investigator’s report about the events in Thunder Bay,” the university said in a statement released Friday.
The university added that the independent investigator’s report was not focused on whether a criminal offence had been committed. Instead, the focus was on whether the players’ behaviour met the standards of the university.
The University of Ottawa had suspended the team in March after receiving information about the alleged sexual assault from a friend of the victim. The university contacted authorities the next day, and voiced concern it had not been immediately told about the allegations.
Then in June, the university fired the coach and announced that it would be extending the program’s suspension into the 2014-15 season following an internal investigation.
At the time, University of Ottawa President Allan Rock said the head coach was in no way involved with the incident, but that he was fired because he did not immediately inform school authorities upon learning of it, apparently just hours after it allegedly took place.
CTV Ottawa reported Friday that the coach tried handle the matter internally, and had benched both Donovan and Foucher as punishment for their alleged actions in Thunder Bay.
The University of Ottawa said Friday it’s rebuilding the men’s varsity hockey program, hiring a new coach and putting in place “improved policies, including new behaviour guidelines for student-athletes.”
With files from CTV Ottawa and The Canadian Press