Former Vancouver Canucks forward and NHL first-round draft pick Jake Virtanen has been formally charged with one count of sexual assault.
BREAKING: B.C. Crown Prosecution Service has filed sexual assault charges against former Canuck Jake Virtanen
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) January 27, 2022
The British Columbia Prosecution service approved the charge following an investigation stemming from a 2017 complaint. At the time of the incident, Virtanen, now 25, was playing with the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks.
Jake Virtanen Sexual Assualt Charge Now Official
In 2021, Virtanen was placed on leave by the Canucks following allegations of sexual misconduct, which have now become formal charges. The “organization does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind, and that the claims as reported were being treated very seriously,” said a statement.
Former Canucks general manager Jim Benning doubled down on the team statement with his own. “We took the allegations seriously. The first step in the process is we put out a statement. I talked to Jake and told him that he’s going to have to take a leave from the team. And then over the course of the next couple of days, the girl filed a police report. So then, it became police business,” Benning said at the time.
The victim, who is now 23, made her allegations in May 0f 2021.
According to the original allegations, Virtanen met the victim at the Calgary Stampede while she was underage. After the event, they exchanged text messages for months before meeting in Vancouver. It was during this meeting that Virtanen allegedly “used his body weight and superior strength” to assault his victim.
Virtanen spent parts of six seasons playing for Vancouver. The British Columbia native was drafted sixth overall in 2014. In total, he played 317 games for the Canucks scoring 100 points.
As the Vancouver Police Department notice stated, the former NHLer is not in custody as he is currently playing Spartak Moskva of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia.
In addition to the criminal charges, a civil suit was also filed against Virtanen in Kelowna, British Columbia, with the victim seeking unspecified damages due to “pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of physical, mental and emotional health.”
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