Application for Approval of Class Action Filed Against QMJHL
The current 18 teams and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) are also targets of this action, the existence of which was first reported by The press. The complaint concerns
all hockey players who were abused while underage and playing within QMJHL since 1969 until today.
Carl Latulippe, a former player for the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, is the lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit, brought by the company Kugler Kandestin.
The man who played six games for the Saguenéens alleges physical and mental abuse as a rookie in the fall of 1994. The first-round draft pick was allegedly locked in a bus toilet and forced to masturbate during a trip to Abitibi.
Mr. Latulippe was subjected to reprehensible abuse while playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, said Me Dave Stolow, the lawyer in charge of the case. He wanted to have a forum, not only for himself, but, just as importantly, for other players in the league who have experienced abuse. He wants people to be able to speak up and see that abusers will be held accountable for what happened to members of the group.
The lawyers are currently recommending that Carl Latulippe not give interviews to avoid the case being brought before the media. Mr. However, Stolow maintains that his client still suffers from the abuse he suffered today.
Because of the abuse he suffered, Mr Latulippe is an anxious person, he explains. He wasn’t nervous until he played in the league. He suffers from claustrophobia and agoraphobia, he has difficulty being in large groups of people, taking planes and public transport, so he is actually still suffering from the consequences of this abuse.
Carl Latulippe’s testimony had been partially corroborated by a member of this edition, but rejected by all the other players then contacted by Radio-Canada. Yanick Jean, the current head coach, was part of this formation.
Very surprised, as I said, I have never seen, heard, reviewed, submitted to anything that is in there. Then it will be my pleasure to cooperate with the independent investigationhe said then.
In April was QMJHLlaunched an investigation into alleged cases of sexual abuse committed among the Saguenéens in the 1990s.indicated to have
Carl Latulippe is now demanding $650,000 from the defendants, in addition to $15,000,000 in collective punishment and exemplary damages.
This is an amount that reflects the nature of the abuse, the duration during which they were exposed, the violation of the fundamental rights of the members of the group, said Me Stolow. All of this is taken into account when seeking punitive and exemplary damages.
In Ottawa, Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge expressed her opinion
that there must be a cultural change in the world of hockey and in the world of sport in general. She believes that
the fact that people are talking about it today is an excellent thing because we are breaking this culture of silence and today these people feel listened to, heard, believed. According to her
such legal actions are a demonstration that society is changing.
The minister responsible for sports in the Quebec government, Isabelle Charest, did not want to comment directly on the matter, but
encourages victims to report reprehensible behavior.
Contacted by Radio-Canada, the management of LHJMQ did not want to comment on the news, as did Enrico Ciccone, spokesman for the official opposition in matters of sport, recreation and healthy lifestyle.
In particular, the application for class action authorization is based on the bylaws of the CHL and QMJHL, both of which claim their job is to oversee players.
in a safe and formative environment to prepare them for adulthoodas the Quebec league writes.
Leagues and teams are thus blamed for being responsible
creating and tolerating a culture of abuse and criminal behavior toward underage players who relied on coaches, teams and the league to look out for their well-being and harming the plaintiff and members of the group.
More directly, this criticism is aimed at the commissioner of the QMJHL and the other commissioners belonging to the CHL, who would have been
fully aware of the abuses committed in their leagues and would not have
nothing to end it.
All players who believe they have been abused are invited to come forward without revealing their identity.
We would like to encourage them to contact us to discuss their rights, completely free of charge and in strict confidence. Nobody has a duty to reveal themselves, Me David Stolow concluded.
A request for approval of a class action with much the same purpose was rejected last February by an Ontario judge. In this case, it was brought by three plaintiffs on behalf of approximately 15,000 players from the three major Canadian junior hockey leagues, namely the QMJHL and its counterparts in Ontario and Western Canada.
Judge Paul Perrell’s ruling had shocked the country with its revelations of shocking cases of torture and serious criminal abuse. However, the judge had suggested that the victims initiate an individual case. The application presented in Quebec also allows for the exclusion of players who would choose this path.