Former University of Ottawa hockey players not guilty of sexual assault
Two former University of Ottawa hockey players have been found not guilty of sexual assault, in connection with an incident that led to the suspension of the school’s entire varsity hockey team.
Guillaume Donovan and David Foucher were charged in August, 2014 with one count each of sexual assault, after allegations connected to a night in a Thunder Bay, Ont., hotel room on Feb. 2, 2014.
The team had been in Thunder Bay for two hockey games against Lakehead University.
The complainant, who was a 21-year-old student at the time, testified that she consented to sex with one of the men’s teammates but not with Donovan or Foucher.
Donovan maintains he had consensual sex with the woman. Foucher says he never touched her.
The judge said that she had serious doubts about the testimony of the complainant, while she found the accused men credible.
Christian Deslauriers, Donovan’s lawyer, was pleased with the judge’s decision.
“Not only did she have reasonable doubt but she went further and said that she believed the accused,” Deslauriers said. “So I think, in the circumstances, that’s the best result we could achieve.”
Celina St. Francois, who defended Foucher, said that “after four years of procedures, he’s relieved.”
The hockey team was suspended in March, 2014 and remained suspended until 2016, prompting a class-action lawsuit by players.
Lawyer Lawrence Greenspon said the class action continues.
“The university was taking steps to suspend all the players for the alleged actions of a few and by doing that, tarring them all by the same brush,” Greenspon said.
The University of Ottawa, meanwhile, issued a statement saying its “2014 decision to suspend the men’s hockey program was based on the serious nature of allegations against team members and following the results of an independent investigation into the events in Thunder Bay that illustrated widespread misconduct unbecoming of University representatives.”
“Today’s court ruling has no impact on that decision,” the university added.
Lawyers for both of the acquitted men say they are considering joining the suit.
With files from CTV Ottawa’s Terry Marcotte