© Bruce Bennet / AFP
WINDSOR, Ontario — A former player with the Ontario Hockey League 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.
NHL team the New Jersey Devils have sacked forward Ben Johnson after hearing the judges decision.
Johnson was drafted by the Devils in 2012 and has spent the last three seasons in the AHL with their affiliate team, the Albany Devils.
The club issued a statement on Thursday which confirmed they were releasing the 22-year-old from his contract after being told the judge's verdict.
"Earlier today, the club was informed of Windsor Superior Court Justice Kirk Munroe’s ruling against Mr. Johnson," the statement read.
"Based on the ruling, the club has initiated the process required to terminate Mr. Johnson’s Standard Player's Contract.
"The organization will have no further comment."
Johnson pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, claiming that he and the victim did not engage in sexual intercourse, and that their contact in a bar bathroom in March 2013 was limited to "consensual oral sex."
The victim disputed Johnson's version of events, saying nothing that occurred between them had been consensual, and the prosecution insisted she was so intoxicated that consent could not have been given.
Based on evidence provided by witnesses in the bar that night and a sexual assault nurse, Munroe said that Johnson's testimony was "unbelievable."
The judge ruled that a blood stain found on the victim's pants was from a tear of the hymen and not from her menstrual cycle as Johnson claimed.
He concluded that full intercourse occurred in the bathroom stall and said Johnson should have known the victim was too drunk to consent to any sexual interaction.
The unidentified woman, who is now 20, has launched a $3.95 million civil lawsuit against Johnson.
She also included the now-closed Mynt nightclub in the suit, claiming that "its owners and employees allowed underaged people like herself to become drunk and vulnerable, then failed to protect them."
Johnson played 49 games in the AHL, scoring six goals with four assists. He was drafted 90th overall by the New Jersey Devils in 2012, signing a three-year entry-level contract.