NHL News : Jake Virtanen's agent issues scathing statement in response to sexual assault allegations.

Jake Virtanen's agent issues scathing statement in response to sexual assault allegations.

Virtanen's people fire back.

Published on by HockeyFeed in NHL News
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The National Hockey League career of former first round draft pick Jake Virtanen appears to be in limbo right now as he faces a number of sexual assault allegations that stemmed from accusations that were made on social media earlier in the year, but up until now there has been very little coming from the player or his representation on this ongoing matter.

On Saturday however Virtanen's agent Kevin Epp spoke out publicly on the matter of the very serious accusations being made against his client to issue a stern denial, and perhaps more importantly to characterize the recent portrayals of his client as unfair and perhaps even malicious. Epp called into question the source of some of the recent media reports that have come out about his client and pointed out that, up until now, they have remained silent on the matter due to the orders of a judge overseeing a civil case that pertains to these allegations.

Epp even goes one step further by questioning the true motivations behind these recent leaks to the press, here is his statement unedited and in full:

Statement from Kevin Epp of Titan Sports Management regarding Jake Virtanen

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, who 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 the police. In fact, a media spokesperson from the Vancouver Police Department indicated on May 5 that 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 the 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. The 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. 

Kevin Epp

Player Agent

Titan Sports Management Inc.

It is clear here that Epp feels Virtanen has been damaged by these allegations and given the recent events that have transpired in his career I think it is fair to suggest that Epp may have a point here. Following the accusations going public, Virtanen was bought out of his contract by his former team the Vancouver Canucks and now finds himself an unrestricted free agent in the National Hockey League. At the time of this writing Virtanen has not been signed by any team in the league for the 2021 - 2022 NHL season, but there have been some rumors that suggest there are teams out there with interest in his services. Chances are no team in the NHL will go near him until this matter has been resolved however, and even then only if Virtanen is exonerated of the accusations that have been made against him.

If, as his agent Kevin Epp has claimed, Virtanen is indeed innocent of what he has been accused of, then he has himself been the victim of a terrible injustice. Hopefully, one way or another, the legal system can get to the bottom of this.

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Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports