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London Police confirm charges against five former WJC players

Dillon Dube, Cal Foote, Alex Formenton, Carter Hart, Michael McLeod Dillon Dube, Cal Foote, Alex Formenton, Carter Hart, Michael McLeod - Getty Images

Carter HartMichael McLeodCal Foote, Dillon Dube and Alex Formenton have each been charged with one count of sexual assault, with McLeod also facing an additional charge, the London Police Service confirmed Monday.

The charges against the five players from Canada’s 2018 World Junior team are the result of an investigation stemming from an alleged sexual assault following a Hockey Canada golf and gala event held in the Ontario city in June of 2018.

Lawyers for the players – current NHL players in Hart, McLeod, Foote and Dube, and former Ottawa Senator Formenton – had previously confirmed their clients had been charged with sexual assault in connection with the investigation. They have also denied any wrongdoing on behalf of their clients and said they will plead not guilty. McLeod is facing an additional charge of sexual assault for “being a party to the offence.” 

The complainant, a woman referred to as E.M. in court documents, met some of the players at a downtown bar following the event. She has alleged in a civil lawsuit that she left the bar with one man and had consensual sex with him. That man then invited other players to his room, without E.M.’s consent, to have sex with E.M., she alleged.

None of the allegations against the players have been proven. The case made its first appearance in a London court on Monday and is set to return on April 30. Dube, Foote, Formenton, Hart and McLeod were not present in person and their lawyers appeared by video.

London police initially investigated E.M.’s allegations before closing the case in February 2019 without laying charges because the lead detective didn’t believe there was enough evidence. Detective Sergeant Katherine Dann of the LPS's Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section said Monday new information and a comprehensive review led to the re-opening of the case in July of 2022.

Dann also said London Police have received varying levels of cooperation from other members of the 2018 World Junior team during the investigation. Hockey Canada later said in a statement the organization has cooperated fully with London Police throughout the investigation and is committed to continuing to support the legal process.

Chief Thai Truong extended his "sincerest apology" Monday for the length of time it has taken the case to reach its current point.

“I want to extend, on behalf of the London Police Service, my sincerest apology to the victim, to her family, for the amount of time that it has taken to reach this point," he said.

In May 2022, TSN reported Hockey Canada had – without consulting any players involved in the alleged incident – quietly settled a $3.55-million lawsuit brought by E.M. against Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League, and eight unnamed players in connection to the alleged attack.

The story led to parliamentary hearings and a maelstrom of public backlash. The NHL and Hockey Canada commissioned investigations and the London police in July of 2022 said they would re-open the investigation.