Warning: Story contains descriptions of sexual assault readers may find upsetting.
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has responded in civil court to a Victoria woman who is suing him for allegedly sexually assaulting her in September 2017.
It happened at a West Vancouver hotel after she said “no” and pleaded with him to stop, alleges her statement of claim, filed in May.
In his response, filed June 1, Virtanen acknowledged having sex with the woman – whose identity is being protected – but says she consented “through her words and conduct.”
Virtanen says he did not “physically force the plaintiff to have intercourse” and denies that the woman expressed “any indication, verbal or physical, that she did not want to engage in sexual activity.”
Virtanen and his accuser agree they met at the Calgary Stampede in July 2017. From there, the pair exchanged text messages and he asked her to meet when she visited Vancouver nearly two months later, on Sept. 26.
The woman says Virtanen picked her up from a friend’s North Vancouver house and drove her to the hotel, where the alleged sexual misconduct occurred.
Her lawsuit alleges his “reckless” and “abusive” actions were, in fact, “premeditated and intentional.”
Virtanen says he “understood that the plaintiff was 18 years old,” according to his response. The hockey player was 20 at the time.
The Canucks placed the player on leave after the allegations – which have not yet been proven in court – surfaced online in April.
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