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Vancouver Canucks player responds to lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct

Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen says the alleged sexual encounter in 2017 was consensual, according to court documents.
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Pictured: Glacier Media reporter Alanna Kelly speaks with the woman behind the sexual misconduct allegation.

Vancouver Canucks player Jake Virtanen has responded in civil court to an allegation of sexual misconduct.

In court documents obtained by Glacier Media, Virtanen states the two engaged in “consensual sexual intercourse.”

Glacier Media spoke to the woman who made the allegation during an exclusive interview in April. For privacy reasons and out of fear of backlash for speaking out, she’ll be referred to as ‘Emily.’

She filed a civil lawsuit against Virtanen in May, as well as a report to the Vancouver Police Department. Her name is also being protected in the civil suit.

The Vancouver Canucks placed Virtanen on leave in April after the sexual misconduct allegation surfaced online. The team has made public that they are doing an independent investigation.

In the court documents, Virtanen states he and the plaintiff had exchanged messages by text and through social media.

“Mr. Virtanen and the plaintiff arranged to meet one evening in September 2017 in Vancouver after the plaintiff told Mr. Virtanen that she was going to be in town,” reads a court document.

According to Emily’s lawsuit, the two agreed to meet and Virtanen allegedly picked her up and drove her to a Vancouver hotel where the team was staying.

Her civil claim alleges when they entered the room, “Virtanen came up behind the plaintiff and began kissing her neck and putting his hands all over her body. The plaintiff allegedly shrugged Virtanen off.”

In Virtanen’s response to the amended notice of civil claim filed on June 1, “during the course of that evening, Mr. Virtanen and the plaintiff engaged in consensual sexual intercourse.”

Emily’s civil claim alleges Virtanen “became more persistent in his attempt to have sex with the plaintiff” and that she told Virtanen “no.”

Her suit alleges “the actions of Virtanen were reckless, arrogant, high-handed, abusive and show a callous disregard for the wishes of the plaintiff.” Emily also claims she suffered post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, and nervous shock from the alleged incident, according to the court records.

Virtanen denies the allegations “about what happened that evening,” adding “he did not physically force the plaintiff to have intercourse with him.”

In his filed response, Virtanen “denies that the plaintiff expressed any indication, verbal or physical, that she did not want to engage in any sexual activity.”

Adding, “the plaintiff, through her words and conduct indicated that she consented to the sexual activity that occurred.”

Virtanen is seeking special costs against the plaintiff.

None of these allegations have been tested or proven in court and Virtanen has previously denied Glacier Media’s attempts for comment, which is his right.

Vancouver Police confirm the investigation into the alleged incident is ongoing.

"The investigations do take time and we cannot discuss specific steps along the way,” says Simi Heer with VPD.

The Vancouver Canucks says its investigation is also ongoing and that they do not have a specific timeline for completion.

“We can also confirm that we have changed independent investigators,” says Chris Brumwell, a Canucks spokesperson. “An internal investigative team requires both strong investigative and legal components. Although the initial firm we retained had significant experience in legal matters of this nature, we decided to make a change when the opportunity arose to involve a more experienced investigator on the team.”

Brumwell adds its current team includes Valerie Harrison, a retired Vancouver Police Inspector with extensive experience investigating sexual misconduct allegations.

“We have also been in contact and are cooperating with the Vancouver Police Department who are conducting their own investigation,” he says.

Glacier Media has reached out to Virtanen for a response and has yet to hear back.