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‘Names have to be named’ in 2003 World Juniors sexual assault allegations, activist says


WARNING: This article contains objectionable content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence.

Six months after Halifax police opened an investigation into an alleged group sexual assault following the 2003 World Juniors hockey tournament in Halifax, a victim rights activist says NHL players are now Current and well-paid retirees are under protection – and she wants that to stop.

Judy Haiven, a retired professor, activist and founder of Equity Watch, a nonprofit founded to fight discrimination, said: “I think those names are. must be stated.

“The youth of 2003’s juniors, most of them, probably all, but one person I know, went on to play in the NHL.”

CBC News has repeatedly asked the NHL if it is investigating the 2003 allegations. The league did not respond.

Haiven gathered background information about the players on Team Canada’s roster. Every team they’ve played for is listed, and although many are now retired, she says it’s not hard to find many of them.

“If it’s true that there is a tape and I believe it to be true, then I don’t understand why these people haven’t been taken out yet,” she said.

“My real concern is the hockey players. Right now, my real concern is to prevent this from happening.”

Judy Haiven is keeping a close eye on the 2003 mass sexual assault investigation. A retired professor and social activist in Halifax, she believes current and former NHL players are protected.
Judy Haiven is keeping a close eye on the 2003 mass sexual assault investigation. A retired professor and social activist in Halifax, she believes current and former NHL players are protected. (Karen Pauls/CBC)

The Halifax Investigation was one of three youth players to have featured in Canada between 2003 and 2018.

New court documents including interview transcripts and search warrant request reveal why police investigating say they have reasonable grounds to charge five young world hockey players sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel room in London, Ont., in 2018. Some of the material in the 94-page Pack was redacted, including the names of those involved and specific sexual acts. body.

Halifax police open its case in July after TSN first learned of an alleged video during the height of the Canadian Hockey scandal of revelations that Hockey Canada had settled sexual assault complaints by use the proceeds from the registration fee.

“I saw a 2003 World Junior hockey player, a Canadian player, turn to him with a video camera and say, ‘This is going to be lamb roast.’ Having five or six naked players masturbating to one person having sex with a girl in bed seems extremely intoxicating,” said one man who said he watched the video in Halifax nearly 20 years ago.

CBC News has agreed to keep the man’s identity confidential because he said he feared he could suffer negative consequences, both professionally and personally.

“I recognize two of the players and both are NHL careers,” the man said.

CBC News reached out to the players on that 2003 team. At least three people who responded said that so far, they have not been contacted by investigators.

Halifax police would not disclose who the investigator interviewed, but Const. John MacLeod says the case is working.

“They’re talking to everyone they need in relation to the investigation so they can get this going,” he said.

MacLeod would not confirm if investigators had heard from an alleged victim, saying he did not want to spoil the investigation. There is no statute of limitations, he added.

Halifax Police Cst.  John MacLeod said officers are doing what they can to investigate allegations of a 2003 mass sexual assault involving Team Canada players after the World Juniors tournament.  He said the historical cases were difficult and was asking the public for help.
Halifax Const Police. John MacLeod said officers are doing what they can to investigate allegations of a 2003 mass sexual assault involving Team Canada players after the World Juniors tournament. He said the historical cases were difficult and was asking the public for help. (Robert Short/CBC)

“Investigations going back decades have been very difficult,” he said, “whether it’s evidence that can be lost or not or we’re dealing with some memories with individuals that they might not have. remember specifics”.

“We will treat the victims and individuals involved with respect and dignity, and we want them to come forward so we can help them in any way we can.”

“Any information, whether it comes from memory, whether it’s evidence or whatever we might have, if given to us, it would be helpful,” MacLeod said.

Hockey Canada’s independent third party also hired an investigator with SportSafe investigation team to review the allegations.

Ottawa attorney Jennifer White said it was her duty to make factual findings about what happened, whether Hockey Canada knew about it and if they did, what they did about it.

She hopes this World Juniors tournament will spark some memories and that people will contact her and provide information, especially if they are uncomfortable talking to the police. She can be reached at jwhite@sportsafe.ca

“Those 19-year-old hockey players are now in their 30s, which of course gives a different perspective to things,” she said in a statement.

“We really want to find out if something happened and if so, what happened?”

‘She shouldn’t be motivated by that pressure’

Catherine Laroche can understand why a victim might not want to come out.

“No one called us. Nobody came and asked if you were okay,” the mother of two daughters said as she sat on the hockey rink in Terrebonne, Que.

Laroche knows exactly what it’s like to report sexual assault allegations involving a young hockey player turned NHL star.

She said it happened at a house party in June 2015. She had two glasses of wine before going to the sauna with a young man.

She believes a man who was also in the sauna or one of his friends poured GHB into her water bottle, a drug that has been linked to the rapes.

“Someone took me into a room, had sex with me, and then I was found unconscious next to a toilet full of vomit,” Laroche said.

Catherine Laroche can understand why alleged victims may not want to report it to the police or an independent third party investigator for Hockey Canada.  She encourages them to do it if they're willing and it's part of their healing journey but says they shouldn't feel pressured to do so.
Catherine Laroche can understand why alleged victims may not want to report it to the police or an independent third party investigator for Hockey Canada. She encourages them to do it if they’re willing and it’s part of their healing journey but says they shouldn’t feel pressured to do so. (Etienne Bruyere/CBC)

She went to the police to make a statement in 2020 but it was not until six months later that a detective contacted her to give a videotaped testimony. Ten months later, a new detective was assigned to the case but said she wouldn’t start talking to witnesses until January 2022.

Laroche ultimately decided to drop the charges because going through the justice system was not part of her healing journey.

“I had an anxiety attack, you know, and it was like five years later, six years later,” she said. “I’m afraid. I’m afraid of not being trusted. I’m afraid of what people will say.”

Laroche currently works with male and college hockey players, help them understand the concept of consent.

Since speaking out, she has also heard from many women with stories similar to hers – although not the one in the alleged Halifax incident.

Her advice to that woman?

“It depends on her needs in her process. Like if she wants to make something out of it, if she wants justice, if she believes it’s her duty to be. Go out and let other girls share their voices, it’s really up to Laroche to speak.

“There’s bound to be a lot of pressure, but she shouldn’t be driven by that pressure. She should be driven by what’s telling her inside.”

Back in Halifax, Judy Haiven hopes the alleged 2003 victim isn’t agitated by all the news about this tournament.

She and the others have a online recommendations claim some of the profits go to programs that support sexual assault survivors.

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