VANCOUVER — Court documents show Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen is denying allegations that he sexually assaulted a young woman.
A civil lawsuit was filed in Kelowna, B.C., last month alleging Virtanen took the woman to a hotel in West Vancouver in September 2017 and assaulted her as the woman repeatedly said no and pleaded with him to stop.
Virtanen denied the allegation in a response filed on June 1, saying the pair had consensual sex and denying that the woman “expressed any indication, verbal or physical, that she did not want to engage in physical activity.”
The allegations have not been tested in court.
Virtanen is asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed and for the court to award him special costs, due to the nature of the allegations.
Virtanen’s lawyer declined comment in an email, saying “Mr. Virtanen will not be making any comments with respect to this matter.”
Virtanen was benched by the team after the assault claims surfaced. At the time, on May 1, the Canucks said he would remain on leave as an independent investigation was being launched.
“Our organization does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously by us,” a statement from the Canucks said.
Vancouver police confirmed days later that they were now looking into the allegations against Virtanen, noting investigators had made contact with the complainant.
With files from Martin MacMahon and HanaMae Nassar
— CityNews Vancouver (@CityNewsVAN) June 11, 2021