Tuesday, March 4, 2014

University of Ottawa men's hockey team suspended over sexual assault: Report

Police are investigating allegations of a sexual assault involving multiple hockey players from the University of Ottawa which has prompted the indefinite suspension of the entire men’s team and coaching staff, and renewed concerns about “rape culture” on campuses.

On Monday, the university announced that it had benched the entire men’s hockey program over an “incident involving some” of its members against a young woman during a recent road trip to Thunder Bay.

“The university has assured the police that it will co-operate fully with whatever investigation they may initiate,” university spokesman Patrick Charette told reporters at a news conference. Charette was light on specifics, saying only that a “third party” had tipped them off to “allegations of serious misconduct” involving the team, which they had then passed on to Thunder Bay Police.

The Gee-Gees have 26 men on their 2013-14 roster, although authorities have refused to say how many are directly connected to the alleged sexual assault, or why they felt the need to suspend the entire team.

The alleged assault took place when the U of O visited Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., for a pair of games on Jan. 31 and Feb 1. But the university only learned of the allegations on Feb. 24 through “a third party,” the school said in a statement.

The next day, the university gave its information to the Thunder Bay police, who confirmed on Monday they are in the “initial stages” of an investigation.

The men’s hockey season at U of O ended Feb. 21 with a playoff loss. Until further notice, team members can attend classes and academic activities, but are barred from sports and athletic facilities. 

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