Editor's note: The following story deals with sexual assault, and may be upsetting for some readers. If you or someone you know is in need of support, those in Canada can find province-specific centres, crisis lines and services here. For readers in the United States, a list of resources and references for survivors and their loved ones can be found here.
Former NHL player Reid Boucher has been sentenced to four years of probation with one year of suspended jail time, if he successfully completes the probation, in his 2011 sexual assault case Monday, both the now-23-year-old woman at the centre of the case and his lawyer told the Detroit Free Press.
Multiple attempts made by Sportsnet to contact Boucher's attorney, Pamella Szydlak, were not immediately answered.
The sentence comes after Boucher pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct against a minor in a Washtenaw County Trial Court on Dec. 13. He was originally being charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
"I'm so glad that even if this wasn't the outcome that I was hoping for, that it worked out in the end, in some capacity," the survivor told the Free Press.
Despite the third-degree charge usually carrying a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, Boucher was sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), meaning the charge is reduced and he will not be required to register as a sex offender upon completion of his sentence, according to the Detroit Free Press, the first outlet to report on the news.
Under the initial first-degree charge, Boucher would have faced 25 years to life in prison.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Circuit Judge Patrick Conlin let Boucher enter a plea for the lesser charge due to "unusual" circumstances like Boucher's age at the time of the incident and how long ago it happened.
During the hearing on Monday, the Free Press said, Conlin clarified to the survivor that he did not call the case "unusual" because of how long it took her to come forward, as can often happen with sexual assault survivors, but instead that his comment was meant to refer to it being an older case.
The incidents occurred in 2011, when Boucher, then 17, assaulted a 12-year-old girl whose family hosted him as a billet family in Ann Arbor, Mich., when Boucher played for the USA Hockey development program.
"In March of 2011, we spoke to parents of both minors and there were no accusations made, but Boucher was proactively removed from the billet home," a USA Hockey spokesperson told The Athletic. "In March of 2021, we were notified by police of allegations of sexual misconduct and have fully cooperated with their investigation."
Should Boucher break the conditions of his sentence under the HYTA, he could still face a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and the ramification of registering as a sex offender.
After Boucher pleaded to the lesser third-degree charge, the survivor, now 23, said she has dealt with severe trauma, self-harm and substance abuse issues since being assaulted and is "disgusted" by the judge's reasoning, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“I feel like a lot of the progress I’ve made over the last 10 years – that’s been undone," she said.
The survivor also said she wrote a letter to the judge before the December hearing asking him not to make any concessions, she told the Detroit Free Press.
After Boucher's sentencing, the survivor said she was grateful for "some semblance of closure," according to the Detroit Free Press.
The Free Press also reports that Boucher was "prepared to go to trial but made the best choice for his family," according to his lawyer.
Beyond the 2011 incidents, The Athletic's Katie Strang reported on Jan. 21 that two women said Boucher had solicited photos of them when they were teenagers.
One of the occurrences reportedly happened in October 2014 when Boucher, then 21, attempted to solicit photos from a 15-year-old Canadian girl by messaging her through Facebook. The other occurred in January of the same year, when Boucher attempted to solicit photos of a 17-year-old woman in New Jersey, also via Facebook messages.
Boucher, 28, was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils. He played in parts of six NHL seasons with the Devils, Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks, and now plays for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the KHL.
"Unequivocally, our organization did not know about this incident," Lamoriello said.