Woman who filed Hockey Canada lawsuit says through lawyer she wants to ‘set the record straight’

Hockey Canada's logo pictured on a jersey. (Graham Hughes/CP)

The woman who said she was sexually assaulted after a Hockey Canada gala in 2018 laid out a timeline of her interactions with London Police on Tuesday in an effort to “set the record straight,” refuting earlier reports — and a Hockey Canada statement — that claimed she had not cooperated with local officials, according to a statement released by her lawyer.

In the statement, which was sent to Sportsnet, Robert Talach wrote that the woman has complied with requests “to participate in the reopened internal Hockey Canada review and a renewed London Police investigation.” In addition to providing “a comprehensive written statement” to Hockey Canada and the NHL last month, she has also continued to cooperate with London police and voluntarily underwent a polygraph exam arranged by Talach’s office, the results of which yielded a rating of “truthful” and were sent to all three investigating parties.

Talach said his client spoke with a detective at the police station in London on the morning of June 22, 2018, and underwent a physical examination at a hospital that same day. He said she also provided her clothing from the evening into evidence, and again met with officers on June 26, 2018, and on Aug. 31, 2018.

A statement from Hockey Canada initially indicated the woman did not speak with police. Tom Renney of Hockey Canada later corrected the statement during testimony on June 20, 2022, in front of the Standing Committee for Canadian Heritage.

“She made it clear to London Police as early as June 24, 2018, that she wanted criminal charges pursued,” Talach wrote. On Feb. 6, 2019, the woman was informed “that no charges would be laid.”

When contacted by Sportsnet, London police said, “As this is now an active criminal investigation, we are unable to speak further to the matter. Appropriate information will be shared once the investigation has concluded.​”

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous and is referred to as E.M. in her statement of claim filed in April, spoke with Robyn Doolittle of the Globe and Mail in a story published Tuesday morning — the first time the public has heard from her directly in the media.

In the piece, E.M. told Doolittle that since news of the allegations came to light in May after the settlement of her civil lawsuit against Hockey Canada, the CHL and eight unnamed players, she has felt “vulnerable and exposed.”

She told Doolittle she never wanted to draw attention to the case, and that she “simply wanted consequences for actions and some accountability.”

The article includes reporting that E.M. will not be “sitting for an interview with the Hockey Canada or NHL investigators,” but has, per Talach, “provided an eight-page statement with an additional five pages of photographs and 4½ pages of text messages.”

“She’s already launched civil proceedings and spoken with police on a number of occasions,” Talach told Doolittle. “I mean, how many times does she have to do this?”

Last week, Danielle Robitaille of law firm Henein Hutchison, retained by Hockey Canada in 2018 to conduct the organization’s third-party investigation, told Parliament during a Hockey Canada hearing that she had obtained a statement from the woman and is equipped to move forward with the reopened investigation.

Support for survivors
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and is in need of support, those in Canada can find province-specific centres, crisis lines and services here. For readers in America, a list of resources and references can be found here.

Talach’s statement reads, in full, as follows:

“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. 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. After the passage of over seven months from the incident she was informed on February 6, 2019 that no charges would be laid. Earlier media reporting that she did not approach or cooperate with police was inaccurate.

“After a period of reflection she next pursued the matter through the formality of the civil justice system in the form of a lawsuit. That lawsuit was commenced on April 20, 2022 and was concluded by May 24, 2022.

“Despite having now sought both criminal and civil legal cases she was asked to participate in the reopened internal Hockey Canada review and a renewed London Police investigation. She has complied with those requests. She provided a comprehensive written statement to Hockey Canada on July 21, 2022 and to the National Hockey League the following day. She has continued to cooperate with the London Police. She most recently voluntarily underwent a polygraph examination arranged by this office regarding her statement on the incident. She successfully passed that “lie detector test” with a rating of “truthful”. The testing result and report was provided to the London Police, the Hockey Canada review and the NHL investigators.

“This woman has fully engaged and cooperated with all the legal and formal investigations surrounding these events. We ask that her privacy continue to be respected and thank the Canadian public for their concern.”

—with files from Sportsnet’s Paul D. Grant

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