London Police facing serious backlash following Hockey Canada investigation
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London Police facing serious backlash following Hockey Canada investigation

This story just gets uglier and uglier.



The London Police Department is facing serious backlash from media and the public for not only their mishandling of the 2018 World Juniors investigation, but in nearly all sexual assault investigations.

An industry oversight body assets that roughly 40% of sexual assault allegations filed with the London Police went uncharged.

From Paola Loriggio of The Toronto Sun:

A report presented to the London Police Services Board at its monthly meeting shows there were 587 reported sexual assaults in 2023, up three per cent from the previous year. Some of the incidents reported may have taken place before 2023.

Of those, the report says 254 did not lead to charges and are thus subject to review by the violence against women advocate case review program.

The program refers sexual-assault investigations that don't lead to charges to an independent committee of front-line community experts, who reviews them to help ensure cases aren't being inappropriately closed.

The board asked police to return with information on why those cases did not lead to charges and to provide that information with future reports.

- Paola Loriggio

This increased scrutiny of the London Police comes after they were forced to reopen their 2018 investigation into sexual assault allegations levied agains 8 members of Hockey Canada's 2018 World Juniors roster. A re-investigation uncovered more information and led to charges laid against five members of the team: Carter Hart, Dillon Dube, Cal Foote, Michael McLeod and Alex Formenton.

Read below for our earlier report on London Police and their role in their Hockey Canada investigation, published two weeks ago.

London Police held a brief press conference this afternoon to update the public on their investigation into allegations against members of Hockey Canada's 2018 World Junior Championship roster.

Former Hockey Canada players and NHLers Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers), Michael McLeod (New Jersey Devils), Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames), Cal Foote (New Jersey Devils) and former NHLer Alex Formenton (Ottawa Senators) have all been formally charged with one count off sexual assault. McLeod is facing an additional count of sexual assault for being a “party to the offense” which reportedly is in relation to “aiding someone else in committing the offense”.

From NHL insider Chris Johnston, who was at the press conference:

Personally, I found the entire press conference to be kind of jarring and bizarre. London Police Chief Thai Truong made a prolonged apology to the alleged victim (E.M.)0. in the case and kind of went off on a tangent, espousing some personal beliefs along the way. Reporters were hoping for some answers as to why charges weren't laid earlier or when they would be able rto get more specifics on what exactly transpired, but Chief Truong was short on details.

Truong said London police conducted a comprehensive review of their original case from 2018 in 2022 and discovered new evidence that paved the way for police to reopen the case and subsequently lay sexual assault charges.

Truong: “I want to recognize the victim for her courage and incredible strength…” 

It wasn't made clear what that new evidence was.

Chief Truong offered “my sincerest apology to the victim” for the amount of time it has taken from the time E.M made a complaint to police in June 2018 until the players were charged with sexual assault this month, nearly six years on.

Lead TSN reporter Rick Westhead got no response when he asked, "Did anyone from Hockey Canada interfere with this investigation or the original investigation?" In fact, not only did Westhead not get a response, but London Police shut the press conference down immediately following Westhead's very pointed question.

Personally, the whole thing came off to me as a bit unprepared.

UPDATE: Hockey Canada has since released a statement stating it has "cooperated fully with the London Police Service throughout its investigation" and remains "committed to continuing to support the legal process."

Source: Paola Loriggio