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NHL star suspended amid ‘sexual grooming’ claims

Ian Cole has been accused of abusing a woman when she was a minor

NHL franchise the Tampa Bay Lightning announced on Sunday that it had suspended defenseman Ian Cole due to an investigation into social media allegations claiming that he sexually abused a woman when she was still a minor. 

“Our organization takes these allegations very seriously,” the Florida team said in a statement

“While we continue to gather more details, we have decided to suspend Ian Cole pending the results of an investigation. No members of the organization, including players, will comment further at this time,” it added.

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Cole released his own statement through his agent Kevin Magnuson and “completely” denied the allegations.

He vowed to cooperate with the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and their legal departments as part of the investigation.

“I take the allegations made against me today in an anonymous tweet very seriously,” Cole stated. 

“I look forward to clearing my name and demonstrating to the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning that these allegations are unfounded.”

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An anonymous user tweeted on Friday that Cole, 33, groomed her over a four-year period starting when the accuser “was a minor in high school.”

The Twitter user said the Michigan native was “well aware of my age” when the alleged sexual abuse took place, but the post didn’t detail where or when it allegedly occurred.

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The alleged victim claimed that Cole “had been playing in the NHL for a few years at that point” when the abuse started and that Cole “pressured me into having sex with him that night, even though I made it very clear I did not want to.”

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Cole “would not take no for an answer” the alleged victim said, claiming that she was “too young to understand at the time that pressuring someone into sex was sexual assault.”

The alleged victim claimed that Cole would “pressure me to do things without my consent” such as not use condoms in their sexual encounters.

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He allegedly asked her to bring other high school girls with her to their meetings, which she refused to do, and would make “derogatory misogynistic comments.”

The alleged victim said that when she got to college, she found out Cole had slept with another girl who was a minor at her former school and, through former teammates, learned that Cole had bragged about sexually assaulting the accuser as a minor to them. 

“Ian felt emboldened to emotionally and sexually abuse me and other women because the NHL fosters a culture of misogyny” she said.

The alleged victim demanded that the NHL “hold themselves and their players accountable for creating an enabling environment of misogynistic and predatory behavior,” but the Tampa Bay Lightning was unable to clarify to ESPN whether the investigation into Cole’s alleged acts will be conducted by the franchise, the NHL or law enforcement.

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According to a source that spoke to the American media outlet, Cole’s suspension is considered paid leave.

Cole is a 13-year veteran in the NHL and signed a one-year deal in the offseason with the Tampa Bay Lightning which is worth $3 million.

He was expected to line up for his new team when they take on the New York Rangers on Tuesday in their first regular season game of 2022/2023, but will now be out of action for an unspecified amount of time due to the allegations and his suspension.

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https://ift.tt/pFmRC2q 10, 2022 at 05:44PM
from RT – Daily news

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