Woman at heart of Hockey Canada probe took polygraph, cooperated with police: lawyer – National

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The woman at the heart of a sexual assault allegation rocking Hockey Canada to its core volunteered to take a polygraph test about those allegations, her lawyer told Global News.

It is part of what Robert Talach describes as an effort to “correct the record” and address attempts to “discredit” his client, who he says made it clear to police in London, Ont., from the very beginning of the matter in June 2018 “that she wanted criminal charges pursued.”

The decision comes after defence lawyers for several players reportedly shared text messages and video clips with a Globe and Mail reporter last month, in which the report said the lawyers believed the woman consented.

Global News has not independently verified the content of those reported texts or videos.

Hockey Canada officials previously claimed in statements that Talach’s client, identified in court documents only as “E.M.” had “chosen” not to speak with police in London or an external probe paid for by the organization when they attempted to probe the alleged sexual assault by eight Canadian Hockey League players including members of the 2018 World Juniors championship team.

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Hockey Canada later reversed those claims, but Talach said he and his client fear that correction hasn’t been widely noted.

Talach said his client would not be speaking with media and did not provide a copy of the polygraph test results to Global News when requested. The Globe and Mail first reported on the polygraph on Tuesday morning and in that report, cited Talach as saying it was important to his client to do it “because of recent suggestions that she has not been totally honest in her account of the events.”

That report from the Globe and Mail also described a brief interview with E.M. in which she was quoted as saying she felt “vulnerable and exposed” by the matter becoming so public.

“This is something I never wanted to draw attention to,” she was quoted as saying.

“I simply wanted consequences for actions and some accountability.”

Read more:

As Hockey Canada re-opens alleged sex assault probe, here’s what 2018 players say so far

A spokesperson for the London Police Service would not say whether the force has received that test.

“As this is now an active criminal investigation, we are unable to speak further to the matter,” wrote Constable Sandasha Bough in an email.

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“Appropriate information will be shared once the investigation has concluded.”

In a statement provided to Global News, Talach said E.M. took the polygraph test on July 28, 2022, and that the test returned a result of “truthful.” He said the test was shared the London Police Service, Hockey Canada’s review into the allegation, and also with the National Hockey League, which is conducting its own probe.

He emphasized that E.M. has participated with every request made of her by investigators at all levels, and will continue to do so. He also provided additional details about the extent to which his client has cooperated with authorities since the start of the police investigation.

“Within a day of her departing the hotel room, the London Police Service was notified and was investigating. After initial inquires she spoke with a detective at the police station on the morning of June 22, 2018. That same day she underwent a physical examination at a hospital,” Talach said.

“She later provided her clothing from the evening into evidence. She made it clear to London Police as early as June 24, 2018 that she wanted criminal charges pursued. She met with officers again on June 26, 2018 as well as on August 31, 2018.”

He added: “After the passage of over seven months from the incident she was informed on February 6, 2019 that no charges would be laid.”

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London police have declined to comment on the 2018 investigation when contacted by Global News on July 14. Several days later, the police force said it would be reopening the criminal investigation into the alleged sexual assault.

Under Canadian law, polygraphs are not admissible as evidence in criminal trials.


Click to play video: 'Hockey Canada paid $8.9M to settle sexual misconduct claims since 1989'







Hockey Canada paid $8.9M to settle sexual misconduct claims since 1989


Hockey Canada paid $8.9M to settle sexual misconduct claims since 1989

E.M. filed a lawsuit against Hockey Canada and eight players, named only as John Does 1-8, earlier this year. The national hockey organization settled the matter, as first reported by TSN in May, and the allegations made in that lawsuit have not been tested in court.

However, the organization has faced accusations of failing to take the matter seriously enough, including from members of Parliament during recent committee hearings. Bloc Quebecois MP Andréanne Larouche said the top leaders at Hockey Canada are contributing to “trivialization of assault cases.”

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Her caucus colleague, Sebastien Lemire, said of Hockey Canada officials: “I think you’ve acted as a John Doe 9 in this matter.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month it is “hard for anyone in Canada to have faith or trust in anyone at Hockey Canada,” while NDP MP Peter Julian, who is on the committee probing Hockey Canada, described officials’ responses as marked by “secrecy” and a “lack of accountability.”

Read more:

Sex assault survivors after Hockey Canada executives’ testimony: ‘Get out of the way now’

Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge froze federal funding in June and has said it will not be reinstated until the organization releases the results of a 2018 independent probe, conducted by the law firm Henein Hutchison, and makes a number of significant changes to its operations.

Among those changes is signing up with the newly created Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner, who would have the power to independent investigate complaints of abuse and mistreatment in sport.

Hockey Canada has said it will do so, and outlined promised reforms in recent statements.

Read more:

Hockey Canada releases plan to tackle ‘toxic’ behaviour ahead of hearings

Multiple sponsors have backed away from the upcoming World Juniors tournament as a result of the allegations, calling for more action from Hockey Canada, while anger among parents continues to grow.

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One player from the 2018 World Juniors team, Victor Mete, recently took to Twitter to call the allegations “appalling,” adding he was not involved. Since the eight alleged perpetrators haven’t been identified, he wrote, “the incident has left an unfortunate cloud over every player who was on the Canadian team.”

Global News reached out to the agents for all players who were on the roster at the time of the alleged incident. Several players have since released public statements denying their involvement.

Read the full list of responses from the team in this post on globalnews.ca.


Click to play video: 'Sponsors skate away from Hockey Canada over sexual assault allegations'







Sponsors skate away from Hockey Canada over sexual assault allegations


Sponsors skate away from Hockey Canada over sexual assault allegations – Jun 30, 2022

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