WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone who has.
New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod faces two charges in connection with an alleged sexual assault in 2018 in London, Ontario, it also led to one charge each against four other players who were members of Canada’s world junior hockey team.
CBC News has obtained court documents showing the London Police Service (LPS) formally charged McLeod on Wednesday with one count of sexual assault and one count of participating in the offence, the On or about June 19, 2018.
McLeod’s Devils teammate Cal Foote was charged Sunday, the same day Alex Formenton, 24 years old, former NHL player now playing in Switzerland, presented himself at the LPS headquarters be accused of sexual assault.
Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers was charged Friday. Dillon Dubé of the Calgary Flames was charged Monday.
All defendants are due to appear in a London court on Monday, the same day London police are expected to hold a press conference.
All five players have defended their innocence through their lawyers, who have confirmed that their clients will plead not guilty. McLeod, Dubé, Foote and Hart, all 25 years old, are on leave from their NHL teams.
Background of the case
The incident reportedly took place following a Hockey Canada gala in the southwestern Ontario city in June 2018, when players were honored for winning the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
Court documents from 2022 revealed that London police believed they had reasonable grounds to charge five players with sexually assaulting a young woman in a hotel room.
In a statement, the plaintiff, known as EM in court documents, alleged she went to a player’s hotel room at Delta Armories after the gala and engaged in sexual acts with him.
The statement alleged that at one point, the player allowed seven other people into the room without her “knowledge and consent.”
Over several hours, according to the statement, the group of hockey players engaged in a series of degrading sexual acts, including placing genitals in the victim’s face, hitting her buttocks, spitting and ejaculating on her and having vaginal intercourse while she was too drunk to consent.
The LPS closed the case in 2018, then reopened it in 2022 in response to public outrage following a lawsuit that Hockey Canada settled for $3.5 million.
London police did not provide information on the charges, saying they would speak publicly on Monday at the press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.
Police closed the case in 2018, then reopened it in 2022 in response to public outrage following a trial.
For anyone who has been sexually assaulted, assistance is available through crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Canadian Association to End Violence Database. If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.