By JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) – NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to Kyle Beach on Saturday about what the league can do to better protect its players after the former first-round pick says he was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach in 2010 and that his allegations were largely ignored. by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Donald Fehr, the head of the NHL Players Association, also met Beach on a separate video conference.
Susan Loggans, a lawyer representing Beach in a lawsuit against the team, said Bettman had expressed “sincere regret” for what Beach had gone through. He also offered the help of the NHL with psychological services for him and his family and whatever the league had at his disposal.
“There was a discussion about what could be done in the future to ensure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again,” Loggans said in an email to the AP.
A message was left by the AP requesting comment from the NHL.
Loggans said Beach’s reunion with Fehr covered the league’s addiction and behavioral health program, which did not follow up when Beach reported what had happened.
“They looked at it like it was privileged communication and there was nothing they could do,” Loggans said. “And they want to create a mechanism by which, in the event of abusive behavior, they can take action.”
The NHLPA has scheduled a call Monday for its board of directors. What happened with Beach should be discussed at the meeting.
The PA typically does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly. Beach spoke to TSN on Wednesday and released a statement on Twitter on Thursday expressing gratitude for the support he has received in recent days.
The NHL fined Chicago $ 2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and inadequate and inappropriate response” to Beach’s allegations that he was sexually assaulted by Brad Aldrich during the race. team at the Stanley Cup in 2010.
According to a report from an outside law firm, commissioned by the team in response to lawsuits brought by Beach and a former high school student Aldrich was convicted of assault in Michigan, senior Blackhawks leaders discussed the Beach charges at a meeting on May 23, 2010, just after Chicago qualified for the Stanley Cup. Aldrich told investigators the meeting was consensual.
Accounts of what was said during the meeting vary, but the report found that there was no evidence that anything was done about the charges before the team chairman of the At the time, John McDonough, only contacted the team’s human resources director on June 14 – a delay that violated the organization’s sexual policy. harassment policy.
During these three weeks, Aldrich continued to work and travel with the team. Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who led the investigation, said Aldrich also “made an unwanted sexual advance” to a 22-year-old Blackhawks intern.
According to the Blackhawks report, Fehr has been contacted twice about allegations related to Aldrich, including by a confidant from Beach. Fehr told investigators he doesn’t remember either of the conversations, but didn’t deny that they happened.
Fehr said in a statement Wednesday night that there was “no doubt” the system had failed at Beach and “we are part of this system.”
Jay Cohen can be contacted at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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