Ben Johnson, a 2012 third-round pick of the New Jersey Devils, was arrested Monday morning on sexual assault charges stemming from an alleged incident with a 16-year-old girl at a nightclub in Windsor, Ont. According to the Windsor Star, the Windsor police are reporting that a second woman also is accusing Johnson of sexually assaulting her.
Johnson, 18, who spent the last two seasons with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, reportedly attended an end-of-season gathering with teammates at Mynt nightclub on St. Patrick's Day.
Ben Johnson, 18, was arrested early this morning after one of the alleged sexual assaults, which sources say occurred in the washroom of Mynt nightclub during a combined St. Patrick's Day party and end of season gathering that included other players. He appeared in provincial court this afternoon by video and was held in custody overnight, with bail set at $30,000.
Windsor Police Sgt. Matt D'Asti said police attended the Metropolitan campus of the Windsor Regional Hospital at about 1:50 a.m. Monday and spoke with a 16-year-old girl, who told officers she had been sexually assaulted. Police then arrested the suspect in the 11000 block of Rockland Street just before 4 a.m.
D'Asti said during the course of the investigation, a second woman, aged 20, came forward. That woman told police she had also been sexually assaulted by the accused in the washroom of The Tilted Kilt at 2135 Wyandotte St. W. about three weeks ago, D'Asti said.
In a statement, the Windsor Spitfires said, “Earlier today our organization was made aware of accusations involving a player on our hockey team. Our organization will allow the legal process to run its due course at this time. The team will have no further comment.”
"I expect that there will be pleas of not guilty in the two separate matters and we'll go to trial,” Johnson's lawyer, Pat Ducharme, said in a press conference Monday. Ducharme also said Johnson will be held in custody overnight Monday.
Johnson, a native of Calumet, Mich., and former winner of the Michigan high school Mr. Hockey Award, was selected 90th overall by the Devils in 2012. In 132 career OHL games, he has 75 points.
This is the second incident of alleged sexual assault involving OHL players this season. Three members of the OHL's Soo Greyhounds, including Philadelphia Flyers prospect Nick Cousins, were charged with sexual assault in August.