Former OHL player found guilty in sex assault
WINDSOR, Ont. — A former player with the OHL Windsor Spitfires has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in the washroom of a Windsor, Ont., bar in March 2013.
Justice Kirk Munroe delivered the guilty verdict against Ben Johnson, 22, in a nearly three-hour ruling on Thursday.
Johnson, who was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2012, pleaded not guilty a year ago and testimony, which began in June, included both Johnson and the complainant taking the stand.
The complainant testified she did not consent and the Crown argued she was so intoxicated that she wasn’t capable of consent.
Johnson said he never had sexual intercourse with the girl, and testified she gave him oral sex, that it was consensual and the girl initiated it, but Munroe ruled the evidence did not support Johnson’s testimony.
Johnson was released under his current bail conditions until Friday when Munroe is to rule if he’ll be placed in custody pending sentencing.
Munroe said he found Johnson’s testimony “unbelievable” based on evidence provided by a sexual assault nurse and multiple witnesses in the bar that night.
Based on the evidence provided in the 10-day trial the judge determined a blood stain found on the victim’s pants was from a tear of the hymen and not from her menstrual cycle as Johnson testified. This led him to the conclusion that vaginal sex did occur in the bathroom stall that night.
Munroe said based on the evidence of several witnesses Johnson should have known that the victim was too “out of it” from the consumption of alcohol to give consent to any sexual interaction.
Johnson has spent parts of the past two hockey seasons in New Jersey’s minor league system. The Devils released a statement Thursday evening saying the organization plans to release Johnson, but wouldn’t comment any further at the time.
“Earlier today, the club was informed of Windsor Superior Court Justice Kirk Munroe’s ruling against Mr. Johnson. Based on the ruling, the club has initiated the process required to terminate Mr. Johnson’s standard player’s contract.”
By The Canadian Press