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Sexual assault alleged

Thunder Bay police are remaining tight-lipped about an alleged sexual assault involving University of Ottawa hockey players.
Patrick Charette, director of corporate communications at the University of Ottawa, speaks to media in front of Tabaret Hall about University of Ottawa Gee-Gees hockey players involved in an alleged sexual assault probe on Monday, March 3, 2014. (Patrick Doyle, The Canadian Press)

Thunder Bay police are remaining tight-lipped about an alleged sexual assault involving University of Ottawa hockey players.

Police spokesman Chris Adams on Monday said they learned last Tuesday through a third-party complainant of a possible sexual assault that took place earlier this year in Thunder Bay

“It’s an allegation of a sexual assault, which occurred sometime on the weekend of Feb. 1. This weekend coincides with the weekend the Ottawa hockey team, from the University of Ottawa was in town playing (the Lakehead Thunderwolves),” Adams said, not directly confirming the Ottawa players were involved.

Adams said third-party complaints aren’t uncommon in sexual assault cases.

Police have been in contact with the victim, but would not comment on reports the victim is not co-operating with the authorities.

“We are working with the victim. We’re also working with all involved parties at this stage,” he said. “It’s still a preliminary investigation at this point. But we are following up as best we can, as well as with the assistance of the Ottawa Police Service who are doing a lot of the leg work for us."

“I’m not going to get into any details specifically about the victim or about the rest of the investigation as it is still very fluid and it’s still unfolding.”

According to the Ottawa Sun, the victim is a woman known to one of the Ottawa GeeGees players and “several other players were involved in the sexual assaults.”

The Sun also called it a “gang sexual assault.”

Police have not made any arrests in the case, which has sent shockwaves across the university hockey landscape.

The school immediately suspended the entire men’s hockey team – which was eliminated from the OUA playoffs last month – indefinitely.

University officials held a brief news conference on Monday afternoon to address the situation.

In a release they stated they received notice on Feb. 24 about the incident and notified police the following day.

“The university assured the police that it will co-operate fully with whatever investigation they may initiate,” the release states.

“The university has launched an internal review that will be conducted so as not to interfere with any investigation the police may undertake.”

School officials went on to say they are “deeply disturbed” that it took more than three weeks for the allegations to come to light.

The allegations arose as accusations of a prevalent rape culture surfaced at the University of Ottawa, after student union leader Anne-Marie Roy alleged five male students at the school engaged in sexually explicit conversations about her.

Lakehead University officials said they knew nothing of the allegations until they hit the national media.

“We have not been contacted to participate in any investigation,” said Toby Goodfellow, the school’s director of media relations.
“If they contact us, we would.”

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