Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen had sexual assault allegations arise this spring via social and mainstream media. This morning, The Daily Faceoff website and Frank Seravalli shared the release of a letter/statement, written by agent Kevin Epp on “Titan Sports Management” letterhead:
“I would like to speak out on behalf of my client, Jake Virtanen, regarding the extremely difficult situation he has been dealing with. Four years ago, Jake had consensual physical relations with a woman. There were no drugs or alcohol involved. He is adamant that absolutely nothing improper occurred and denies in the strongest possible terms any suggestion that this was non-consensual.
Sexual assault is a very serious and harmful problem, and being accused of this, even without any criminal charges being laid has devastating consequences. What is unusual and troubling about this situation is how these events have been unfolding.
The first time that Jake heard about these allegations was through anonymous social-media postings. At that time, Jake was playing for the Vancouver Canucks organization, which also became aware of the allegations through social media. As you can imagine, the allegations have negatively impacted his ability to play hockey.
Following the anonymous social posts, a lawsuit was started seeking to recover money from Jake. This was before the complainant, to my understanding, even spoke with police. In fact, a media spokesperson from the Vancouver Police Department indicated on May 5 the police had reached out to the complainant, rather than the other way around, having learned about the allegations through media coverage. From what I have been told about the process, all of this is highly unusual.
Adding to the situation, having brought her civil lawsuit seeking money, someone leaked documents to the media on two different occasions. Both counts are in direct violation of a court sealing order. We have asked certain members of the media whether it was the complainant who leaked information about the case, but the media have declined to indicate their source. The reporters were almost certainly unaware of the court’s sealing order.
While Jake has respectfully adhered to the court orders restricting the release of information, the allegations that have been put forward anonymously have made their way out to the media quite deliberately. Those anonymous allegations have had far-reaching consequences for Jake, his family, and potentially for his career.
As this case gets addressed through the police investigation and civil court process, this could be determined as an attempt to destroy a person’s reputation in the press before the ordinary processes could run their course or an attempt to obtain financial compensation from a high-profile athlete.
But what has happened so far puts Jake in a difficult position. As he adheres to and cooperates with the Vancouver Police investigation, he is restricted by the court’s sealing order, which he continues to respect.
It is important to emphasize that Jake has not been charged with any crime. As things stand, he is under investigation, and an investigation is entirely appropriate where this sort of serious allegation is put forward. The only case that has made its way into the court system is the civil lawsuit seeking payment of money from Jake, which he is responding to. There have been no criminal charges against Jake.
Jake is looking forward to putting this matter to rest and focusing on his career, continuing to play the game he loves.
Titan Sports Management Inc.”