Former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen charged with sexual assault

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      The B.C. Prosecution Service has approved one count of sexual assault against hockey player Jake Virtanen.

      Vancouver police revealed this in a news release today (January 27) following an investigation launched last May.

      It came after a victim, now 23 years old, came forward to police about an incident that allegedly occurred in Vancouver on September 26, 2017.

      At the time, Virtanen was playing for the Vancouver Canucks.

      On May 1, 2021, the team placed Virtanen on leave in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct.

      A civil lawsuit was filed against Virtanen that same month concerning an incident in a West Vancouver hotel room in September 2017. He denied the allegation in his statement of defence.

      The Canucks released Virtanen in July.

      Virtanen, 25, was born in Langley and was drafted in the first round by the Canucks in 2014. In six NHL seasons, he scored 55 goals and posted 45 assists.

      Virtanen plays for Spartak Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League.

      Under section 271 of the Criminal Code, sexual assault can be prosecuted as an indictable or summary offence.

      If convicted of an indictable offence, the maximum prison term is 10 years, though it rises to 14 years if the complainant is under the age of 16. The minimum is one year in jail.

      On a summary conviction, the maximum sentence is 18 months in jail, but rises to no more than two years less a day if the complainant is under the age of 16. The minimum prison sentence is six months if the complainant is under 16.

      The VPD news release stated that Virtanen is not in custody. The Crown's allegation has not been proven in court.