After more than a week of speculation, New Jersey Devils fans got confirmation that Michael McLeod and Cal Foote are expected to be charged with sexual assault. The case stems from a 2018 incident during a Hockey Canada event. The details include an alleged group sexual assault of a woman. Rick Westhead of TSN Sports first reported Tuesday's news, and he gave details of the incident in question in his article.
Pucks and Pitchforks reached out to Greenspan Humphrey Weinstein LLP, the firm representing McLeod in this matter. They sent us a statement, as first reported by Westhead, that said in part, "Mr. McLeod denies any criminal wrongdoing. He will be pleading not guilty and will vigorously defend the case."
Last week, when McLeod and Foote first asked for a leave of absence, we went over the facts of the case and the situation. They, along with Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers and Dillon Dube of the Calgary Flames, all went on leave last week. Alex Formenton, who was playing in Europe, was the first player to turn himself in.
This length of time is not unusual for many sexual assault cases. Canada has no statute of limitations on sexual assault cases, meaning a victim can press for charges at any point in their lifetime.
These cases often take a long time for legal proceedings. However, each player has a right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms section 11b to be tried within a "reasonable time." While most suspects want as much time as possible to put together a case and possibly come to a plea bargain in some cases, the fact that there are careers on the line could change that situation.
We're expecting to hear more from London Police on Monday, February 5th. They announced a press conference tied to this case. We will share more once we hear from them.