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Sex abuse ‘code of silence’ still runs deep in Canadian sports, says former league head – National

The nationwide scandal embroiling Hockey Canada in sexual assault allegations reveals how deep the “code of silence” in sports activities nonetheless runs — and plenty of Canadians most likely “can’t deal with the reality,” says the previous head of the Canadian Ladies’s Hockey League.

She says breaking that silence is the one solution to attempt to repair the issue.

“I’ve seen it and I’ve accomplished the whole lot I can to attempt to change it in my very own voice,” stated Brenda Andress, former commissioner of the league and now president of SheIS, a gaggle that works to develop and help girls’s sporting leagues.

“We additionally knew that we needed to observe the insurance policies and the codes and the foundations with a view to get cash, with a view to get sponsorship offers, with a view to be part of the ‘boys’ community.’”

She stated for a lot of, recognizing the extent of the issue could be laborious to simply accept.

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“Being within the sports activities world so long as I’ve been, there’s a code of silence. There’s a tradition that we have now created, and I feel most of us can’t deal with the reality that’s on the market — that’s actually happening in our sports activities world,” Andress continued.

“It’s time that we check out it in so much deeper avenue than we’re at the moment doing.”

Learn extra:

Woman at heart of Hockey Canada probe took polygraph, cooperated with police: lawyer

Andress was commissioner of the Canadian girls’s league for 12 years.

Throughout her tenure, she stated she noticed firsthand what can include talking out to attempt to defend gamers in an atmosphere and a tradition the place the unstated rule is “right here’s the code, don’t break it, all people stick collectively.”

She pointed to the “power” it took for former Canadian NHL participant Sheldon Kennedy to return ahead within the late Nineties to show the sexual abuse he confronted as a younger participant in that league, and the obvious entrenchment of an analogous tradition that’s the goal now of extra sexual abuse and assault allegations.

“What number of years in the past was that?” Andress stated. “And right here we’re.”

Learn extra:

International Ice Hockey Federation probing Hockey Canada over alleged sex assault

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Hockey Canada is embroiled in a nationwide scandal over its dealing with of a 2018 sexual assault allegation in opposition to eight unnamed Canadian gamers, together with members of its World Juniors championship crew that 12 months.

The group settled that case utilizing cash from a pool of money reportedly funded by the registration charges Canadian dad and mom pay to have their kids take part in hockey.

Since 1989, Hockey Canada has paid out $7.6 million in settlements from that fund, together with the $6.8-million settlement to victims of former coach Graeme James — the convicted sexual assaulter who Kennedy and fellow participant Theo Fleury title because the perpetrator of the abuse.


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Hockey Canada can be dealing with allegations that members of its 2003 World Juniors crew sexually assaulted one other girl in Halifax, N.S., and police are at the moment investigating each that allegation and re-investigating the 2018 case that that they had beforehand closed with out laying prices.

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One participant from the 2018 World Juniors crew, Victor Mete, recently took to Twitter to name the allegations “appalling,” including he was not concerned. For the reason that eight alleged perpetrators haven’t been recognized, he wrote, “the incident has left an unlucky cloud over each participant who was on the Canadian crew.”

International Information reached out to the brokers for all gamers who had been on the roster on the time of the alleged incident. A number of gamers have since launched public statements denying their involvement.

Read the full list of responses from the team in this post on globalnews.ca.

Learn extra:

As Hockey Canada re-opens alleged sex assault probe, here’s what 2018 players say so far

Hockey Canada additionally closed an inner investigation into the 2018 allegation, and leaders from the group advised Canadian members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage that the complainant in that case had not cooperated with police.

These officers later reversed that declare and on Tuesday, the lawyer for that girl stated his consumer made it clear from the beginning that she needed prison prices pursued in opposition to the eight alleged assailants.

Hockey Canada has stated it didn’t require gamers on the 2018 World Juniors crew to take part in its inner investigation, which officers have stated didn’t establish who is likely to be accountable.

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Greg Gilhooly, a lawyer and a survivor of sexual abuse by James, advised International Information that the choice by Hockey Canada to close that investigation down, after which counsel that a part of the explanation was it hadn’t heard from the girl on the coronary heart of the allegation, was improper.

“I feel Hockey Canada dropped the ball in shutting down its investigation. You don’t want to speak to the useless individual to analyze a homicide,” Gilhooly stated Tuesday.

“Hockey Canada had each alternative to have each member of that crew sit down and provides their model of occasions, regardless of whether or not or not the sufferer was taking part.”

He stated the truth that the girl on the coronary heart of the 2018 allegation just lately felt the necessity to sit for a polygraph in response to what her lawyer, Robert Talach, known as makes an attempt to “discredit” her by defence legal professionals for some gamers highlights critical considerations about how such allegations are dealt with.

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These defence legal professionals reportedly shared textual content messages and video clips with a Globe and Mail reporter final month, in which the report said the legal professionals believed the girl consented.

International Information has not independently verified the content material of these reported texts or movies.

Gilhooly stated: “Any time a facet is disclosing some proof, however not the whole lot — not the entire texts, however a few of the texts, not the entire video, however a few of the video — your spidey senses ought to begin tingling.”

Learn extra:

Hockey Canada: A timeline of how the agency handled 2018 sexual assault allegation

Polygraph assessments will not be admissible as proof in Canadian prison trials and the assessments, which measure bodily components of a stress response equivalent to elevated breath charge or palm sweat, have confronted longstanding questions on whether or not they’re a dependable metric for gauging truthfulness.

International Information sought an interview with the girl by her lawyer, however she declined.

Gilhooly stated whereas he doesn’t place any weight on polygraphs, he believes the girl will need to have been feeling “desperation” if she took one.

“Basically, that girl is in a troublesome place. She doesn’t need to be on the entrance web page of any newspaper — who desires to have a narrative like that linked to their title on a go-forward foundation for the remainder of your life?” he stated.

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“And but, if you’ve received the hockey gamers and legal professionals for the hockey gamers making an attempt to inform a narrative that doesn’t sit nicely with you and that perhaps goes in opposition to what occurred to you as a sufferer, what do you do? What are your choices? What are your decisions?”

“Think about the utter desperation that the girl is feeling.”

The allegations in her lawsuit in opposition to Hockey Canada haven’t been examined in courtroom.

With information from International’s Abigail Bimman and David Baxter.

© 2022 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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